Arizona students join others across nation in D.C. to voice concern over student debt—support Biden’s plan to reduce/forgive educational loans


Miranda Lopez

Students from Arizona join others in D.C. to support Biden’s loan forgiveness/reduction plan in front of the Supreme Court

Sophia Linkous, Reporter

On the morning of February 28, Arizona students rallied outside the steps of the Supreme Court in D.C. to hear the arguments on student loan forgiveness.

The student debt crisis has been at the forefront of conversation lately as millions of Americans are living with debt collected from higher education systems.

Students at Arizona State University with the Arizona Students’ Association arrived in D.C. and camped overnight to be some of the first with a chance to go inside the Supreme Court to watch the hearings.

The ASA strongly advocates for issues students face such as tuition increases that make accessing higher education harder to obtain and less affordable.

“Our main focus has been making higher education more accessible and affordable for all students in Arizona,” said Kyle Nitschke,  Co-Executive Director of ASA.

According to the Education Data Initiative, “the average public university student borrows $31,410 to attain a bachelor’s degree.”

Primarily, those that carry debt are younger people between the ages of 25 and 34. They carry a total of approximately $500 million in student loans, with the majority owing between $10,000 and $40,000 dollars.

As younger people accumulate large amounts of debt, they miss out on opportunities to purchase their first home or enter a high-skill job that utilizes their degree. Their priorities are instead focused on a quick way to pay off student loan bills.

Miranda Lopez, Southern Regional Director for ASA, described what her time was like with her students at the rally in D.C.

“We had chairs we were all sitting in, we were passing around nylon blankets, we had sleeping bags, we had pizza, and we were rocking out to Rihanna on this big speaker all night,” Lopez said.

Out of about 60 students total and the 40 passes given out, only 20 people from the public, including Lopez and some of her students were able to sit in at the hearings.

“We wanted to make it clear we were students, so we weren’t wearing anything fancy,” Lopez said.

Lopez and her students heard the first case presented in the student debt argument, Biden v. Nebraska filed by Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina.

Lopez strongly advocates for this matter, as she herself has student debt. She graduated from University of Arizona in 2018, and from her time there gathered $12,000 in loan debt.

“It is a fair amount of money… but compared to some other people I know who owe $60,000, $100,000, or $120,000,” Lopez said. “I feel like everyone my age knows at least one person who owes well over $50,000.”

Although Lopez has saved up money to pay off her debt, she has goals she wants to achieve such as purchasing a home and starting a family.

“I’m very hesitant to pay it off all at once,” Lopez said.

Lopez believes there is a need for more representation for students in the state legislature and hopes to see debt cancellation.