Including More Student Voices in Higher Education Policymaking

The Occupy Wall Street protests highlight the difficulties that the 99 percent face in paying for a college education. The protesters call for student loan forgiveness, carrying signs that read:

  • "I'm a student with $25,000 in school loans. I am the 99 percent."
  • "I was promised the American Dream, but I am living the American Nightmare."
  • "Prostitution: The only job option available after graduation to afford my student loan debt!"

The Wall Street protesters are bringing a lot of attention to the burden student loan debt places on young Americans. Their stories are now reported often by National Public Radio, in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other major news media outlets. And though it is unclear whether these students' voices were the impetus for his actions, their sentiments are certainly reflected in President Barack Obama's new executive actions to relieve student loan debt. The president’s proposal would allow some students to consolidate their loans to achieve a lower interest rate, and it would change the income-based repayment program to give participating students lower monthly payments.

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