AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

ADDRESS THE INCREASING BURDEN OF STUDENT DEBT

WHEREAS, most students in postsecondary education have to rely on loans to finance their education; and

WHEREAS, the United States needs a highly educated workforce to remain competitive in the global market, and should incentivize higher education attainment; and

WHEREAS, outstanding student loans will exceed $1 trillion in 2012, and, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards (www.usatoday.com); and

WHEREAS, the rise of for-profit colleges has accelerated this crisis: 44 percent of the students who have defaulted on loans attended for-profit colleges, despite the fact that for-profit colleges make up only 10 percent of the total postsecondary student population (www.pbs.org/frontline); and

WHEREAS, predatory lending has been rampant in higher education just as it has been in the housing loan sectors, with banks and colleges preying on young adults, many of whom have little financial literacy; and

WHEREAS, President Obama has called for an aggressive strategy to address student debt relief (http://moneyland.time.com); and

WHEREAS, problems with home financing and mortgages along with the resultant flood of foreclosures came about from our most recent economic crisis, and experts are predicting that this mountainous level of student debt could trigger a new crisis in finance (www.usstudents.org); and

WHEREAS, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Based Repayment and other loan repayment assistance programs need to be supported to help address this crisis (www.equaljusticeworks.org):

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will support legislation and policies at the state and national level that will help to reduce the burden of student debt by investing in funding for public postsecondary education institutions, programs and education professionals; by utilizing programs to help with repayment or forgiveness of student loans; by supporting student financial literacy and expanding ability to deduct private loan interest on tax returns; and by increasing the amount of nonpredatory financial support available to students; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will support the expansion of the forgiveness of federal student loans for service, in proportion to time in public service, in all public and nonprofit sector jobs in order to provide a stimulating effect on the states' economy, freeing hundreds or thousands of dollars per month per affected individual for increasing spending, generating economic activity and creating jobs.


(2012)