Guest post by Kyle McCarthy
For many today, higher education is being pushed further out of reach due to skyrocketing tuition and overwhelming student debt. In fact, from 1978 to 2011, tuition increased more than 900%, 650 points above US inflation.
And as tuition has climbed, so has student debt. Over the past eight years, total educational debt has nearly tripled in size and the average monthly student loan payment is $500. Today, nearly 40 million Americans hold more than $1 Trillion in student loan debt, which is having drastic effects on individual student-borrowers, families, and the American economy. With the increase in borrowing, people have delayed major purchases such as houses and cars. In 2011, first-time home purchases decreased for the first time since 2006, and One Wisconsin Now estimates that the student debt crisis translates into over $6 billion in lost automotive sales each year.
Recently, our organization, StudentDebtCrisis.org, partnered with more than a dozen amazing organizations and asked America to “Come out with student debt.” Our #OutWithStudentDebt Project is an initiative designed to help shed the stigma of shame and embarrassment that comes along with the burden of student loan debt. We asked people submit a personal 1-2 minute videos to StudentDebtCrisis.org/OutWithStudent, telling their personal student debt story, as well as what they would do with the extra money if they were not buried under student debt, and to explain what their debt currently prohibits them from doing.
The submission deadline has officially ended and the voting phase has begun for the #OutWithStudentDebt Video Project. We received nearly 60 incredible videos and now, we’re asking the public to vote for their favorite videos. We will be announcing winners on October 17, 2013 and awarding the creators of the three videos that garner the most votes $500 each, which unfortunately, represents an average monthly student loan payment today. All of the videos that were submitted to us can be found on our site at StudentDebtCrisis.org/OutWithStudentDebt or by searching for #OutWithStudentDebt on YouTube.
Below are five videos from incredibly brave people that decided it was time to come #OutWithStudentDebt. Take a look. Then, please take 30 seconds to vote and encourage others to come out with their student debt.
The New Olivet Baptist Church
Features an entire congregation coming out with their collective $1.4 Million in student loan debt.
$126,964 in student debt ($36,164 just in interest)
Richard Fowler from the Richard Fowler Show
$80,000+ in student loan debt
10 months away from her medical doctorate degree and $144,000 in student loan debt.
$32,000 in student loan debt: “If I didn’t have that debt, I think I would be able to invest more and invest more in the economy.”
Kyle McCarthy is co-founder of StudentDebtCrisis.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental reforms to the way in which higher education is paid for in America. For his work on this issue, Kyle was listed as “10 advocates fighting for student loan reform.” In addition to his work in higher education, Kyle assists organizations with social media campaigns and marketing for good.