FACT SHEET: The State Of Higher Education In Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia has some of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious higher education institutions, but it is difficult for many Virginians to afford college without incurring significant debt. Average annual tuition and fees at Virginia public colleges are rising, and are already higher than the national average. In 2015, the average student loan debt for students who borrowed to earn a bachelor’s degree at Virginia’s four-year public and private institutions was $26,432. What’s more, it is not only the young that struggle with student debt; the number of seniors aged 60 and older who have student loan debt rose 47% between 2012 and 2017, with the median student loan balance among seniors being $14,950 in 2017.

Borrowers in Virginia and across the nation are in crisis because of the high price of a college education. But it’s not just tuition bills beleaguering student loan borrowers; poor management and excessive fines by student loan servicers like Nelnet and Navient Solutions—the latter of which is headquartered in Virginia—make it even harder for borrowers to pay back their loans. These student loan companies have a track record of failing to inform borrowers of their repayment options or how they can avoid default. As Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial election draws near, there couldn’t be a sharper contrast between the two candidates on policies that would address college affordability and help borrowers with repayment and basic consumer rights. Young people are eager to see solutions to the student debt crisis, and we know that policies like free or debt-free college and putting predatory student loan servicers on a leash via a Borrower’s Bill of Rights would help young Virginians. Student debt affects 1 in 5 households nationwide, and here are some quick facts about the student debt crisis in Virginia:

Nationally, President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have yet to produce any sort of comprehensive plan to deal with college affordability and the student debt crisis. Even worse, they want Congress to eliminate important programs and repayment options that limit interest accumulation for borrowers with financial need or provide loan forgiveness for nonprofit and public sector workers.

The same rollback of progress is happening on the state-level in Virginia; Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie has similarly failed to come up with tangible policies to address Virginia’s student debt crisis. Virginia Republicans recently blocked efforts in the state legislature to establish a Borrower’s Bill of rights, which would have protected students struggling with their loans and inadequate student loan servicers, and established a consumer watchdog to remedy these problems. Moreover, Gillespie – a professional lobbyist – has both worked many years for and taken many dollars from student loan servicing companies and big banks, trying to change laws to make it easier for them to profit off of student debt.

The contrast with the Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam couldn’t be clearer. He has campaigned on a platform to make college debt-free and wants to help borrowers by providing them with greater consumer protections.

Virginia needs a plan to not only help student loan borrowers in the state, but make higher education a public good again for all.

Download the fact sheet here.

TAKE ACTION: The State of Higher Education In Virginia

Virginia deserves a governor that will fight for hard-working student loan borrowers. With his ties to student loan servicers and lack of action on college affordability, Ed Gillespie is not the man for the job. Share your student loan story now and read more about Gillespie’s shady lobbying history below.

 

The Commonwealth of Virginia has some of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious higher education institutions, but it is difficult for many Virginians to afford college without incurring significant debt. Average annual tuition and fees at Virginia public colleges are rising, and are already higher than the national average. In 2015, the average student loan debt for students who borrowed to earn a bachelor’s degree at Virginia’s four-year public and private institutions was $26,432. What’s more, it is not only the young that struggle with student debt; the number of seniors aged 60 and older who have student loan debt rose 47% between 2012 and 2017, with the median student loan balance among seniors being $14,950 in 2017.

Borrowers in Virginia and across the nation are in crisis because of the high price of a college education. But it’s not just tuition bills beleaguering student loan borrowers; poor management and excessive fines by student loan servicers like Nelnet and Navient Solutions—the latter of which is headquartered in Virginia—make it even harder for borrowers to pay back their loans. These student loan companies have a track record of failing to inform borrowers of their repayment options or how they can avoid default. As Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial election draws near, there couldn’t be a sharper contrast between the two candidates on policies that would address college affordability and help borrowers with repayment and basic consumer rights. Young people are eager to see solutions to the student debt crisis, and we know that policies like free or debt-free college and putting predatory student loan servicers on a leash via a Borrower’s Bill of Rights would help young Virginians. Student debt affects 1 in 5 households nationwide, and here are some quick facts about the student debt crisis in Virginia:

Nationally, President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have yet to produce any sort of comprehensive plan to deal with college affordability and the student debt crisis. Even worse, they want Congress to eliminate important programs and repayment options that limit interest accumulation for borrowers with financial need or provide loan forgiveness for nonprofit and public sector workers.

The same rollback of progress is happening on the state-level in Virginia; Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie has similarly failed to come up with tangible policies to address Virginia’s student debt crisis. Virginia Republicans recently blocked efforts in the state legislature to establish a Borrower’s Bill of Rights, which would have protected students struggling with their loans and inadequate student loan servicers and established a consumer watchdog to remedy these problems. Moreover, Gillespie – a professional lobbyist – has both worked many years for and taken many dollars from student loan servicing companies and big banks, trying to change laws to make it easier for them to profit off of student debt.

The contrast with the Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam couldn’t be clearer. He has campaigned on a platform to make college debt-free and wants to help borrowers by providing them with greater consumer protections.

Virginia needs a plan to not only help student loan borrowers in the state but make higher education a public good again for all.

Download the fact sheet here.

Progressive Power: Rally And Organize Over Inauguration Weekend

As Donald Trump takes the oath of office on January 20, progressives will not be accepting this new administration with open arms. Americans from across the nation will be coming to Washington D.C. to resist the spread of hate, racism, sexism, and xenophobia that has followed the Trump campaign and administration-to-be.

Join Generation Progress Action and our progressive allies at one (or two or three) of these incredible events happening in Washington D.C. January 20-22.

Inauguration Weekend Map

Don’t see your event listed below? Tweet at @GPPushback with event information and we’ll add it to the list!

JANUARY 20

Rally for Humanity | 10AM — 1PM | Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
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Join activists from across the country as we convene on the National Mall, to Rally for Humanity during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. The purpose of this gathering is to show resistance to the intolerance and injustice occurring across country that has been exacerbated by the 2016 presidential election. Moreover, we want to reinforce, that we expect all branches of government to serve and protect all citizens regardless of their identities.

We Are Progress: The Trump Resistance Bootcamp (Generation Progress Action) | 12PM — 6PM | George Washington University
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Join us in Washington D.C. on January 20 for a dynamic one-day youth training event to help equip progressive Millennials with the issue strategies and skills necessary to mount an effective resistance against the Trump Administration. Workshops will include trainings on issue-based resistance — with such topics as immigration, higher education, civil rights, climate and energy, and health care — and skills-based resistance, including sessions on citizen-lobbying, earned media tactics, and how young people can run for public office.

JANUARY 21

The People’s Inauguration (NAACP) | 9AM | Howard University
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Leaders of the youth wing of the civil right organization, along with partners in Justice League New York and the Empowerment Movement will join together at the “People’s Inauguration” rally. The rally will re-unite allies and partners who helped register thousands of new and young voters during the 2016 election with the goal to launch a new era of activism and protest against potential threats from the presidency of Donald J. Trump. During the meeting, attendees will begin collaborating to unite together and stand for a progressive policy agenda in the coming months and years.

Women’s March on Washington | 10AM | Intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW
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In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

#WeRise Teach-In (Public Citizen) | 1:30PM — 8:30PM | 1500 Harvard St. NW
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On the day after inauguration, we are providing a safe, warm space for folks coming to the Women’s March — and other progressive events taking place inauguration weekend — to gain a deeper understanding of the critical challenges facing our nation, find ways to plug into grassroots campaigns that tackle those challenges, connect with people from a vast array of movements and acquire skills to become more effective organizers at home.

Roll Up Your Sleeves | 5PM — 6:30PM | 1602 U St. NW
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‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ will bring together citizens, activists, experts and organizers on the evening of January 21 to talk about how – concretely – we can defend our fundamental freedoms and values over the next four years. The Women’s March on Washington offers a unique opportunity to bring people together from around the country to talk about what steps we can take.

JANUARY 22

Getting Ready to Run (Emily’s List) | 9AM — 12PM | Downtown Washington D.C.
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Local offices are ground zero for legislation aimed at stripping our rights, disenfranchising progressive voters, and ensuring a Republican majority for generations. We need to stop it. We need women running for every office at every level. We need you talking to your neighbors, organizing your communities, debating your opponents, changing the conversation — and winning.

Women’s March Day 2: Action and Advocacy Training | 9AM — 3PM | Dupont, Washington D.C.
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Looking for ways to deepen your activism after the Women’s March? There’s a big fight ahead of us, and we need all hands on deck! Generation Progress, Ms. Foundation, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and United State of Women invite you to a day of trainings and policy breakouts to educate and empower participants and build a network out of this momentous event.

For more on traveling to and within the city of Washington D.C. during the busy inauguration weekend, visit DC.gov. If you’ll be spending time in D.C., these businesses are donating a portion of their profits made over inauguration weekend to local and national non-profits.