November 29, 2011
AFT Media Affairs
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Campus Calls to Curb Mounting Student Debt
and Budget Cuts
WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers supports the students, faculty, workers and other activists associated with the Occupy movement at the University of California—Davis, the City University of New York and other campuses, who are taking dramatic action to call attention to the harm the explosion of student debt and ongoing budget cuts are causing to higher education quality and efficacy.
As a college education becomes increasingly important in order for students to succeed in the knowledge economy, access is becoming more limited because of skyrocketing tuition, ever-increasing fees and state budget cuts.
It is a tragic reality that young people are leaving college saddled with onerous student debt. Those who graduated in 2010 had an average debt of $25,000. This limits the types of careers students can pursue and puts them in the untenable position of having to pay back their loans almost immediately in the face of the worst labor market in 70 years.
We support the calls to make higher education funding a priority and to protect and expand programs like the Pell Grant and TRIO programs, which serve our nation's neediest students. We strongly believe that higher education should be affordable and accessible to anyone who wants to pursue it.
Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten: http://twitter.com/#!/rweingarten
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.