Students call for Debt-Free Higher Education alongside Jeff Merkley and WFP Cross-Nominees Dembrow and Gorsek

June 7th, 2013 by salloy

WFP Cross-Nominees Reps. Michael Dembrow and Chris Gorsek stand with student activist Ariel Gruver and US Senator Jeff Merkley in calling for Congress to Bank on Students

PSU student, Ariel Gruver of Students for Educational Debt Reform called for the Oregon legislature to pass the WFP’s groundbreaking Debt-Free Higher Education bill, Pay it Forward at a press conference at Portland State University today with Senator Jeff Merkley. Gruver said “I believe that with creative solutions like Pay It Forward, we can begin to reverse the trend of state disinvestment in higher education, but I also know that it will take hard work at the federal level to make a lasting impact.”

Senator Merkley, who is a co-sponsor of Elizabeth Warren’s Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, called for Congress to give students the same interest rates as big banks who borrow from the Federal Reserve, around 0.75%. If Congress doesn’t act by July 1st, interest rates on federal student loans are set to double from 3.4 to 6.8%. The average Oregon public university senior now has more than $26,000 in student debt.

State Representative Chris Gorsek (D /WFP), a co-sponsor of Pay It Forward said “Oregon has to prioritize the well-being of all of our residents, not just adults, but also students and children.” Representative Michael Dembrow (D / WFP) who is championing Pay It Forward in Salem, was also there in support.

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