Eliminating Student Debt
The Ohio Student Association (OSA) is a statewide network of young people organizing for power on their campuses and in their communities. 64 percent of Ohio jobs will require a post-secondary degree or credential by 2020 but only 42 percent of Ohioans meet that requirement. With for-profit pirates, bankers, and lobbyists at the helm of federal education policy, we believe Ohio has an obligation to protect students from abuse and safeguard their futures. OSA organizes for measures to protect young Ohioans in their pursuit of higher education and social mobility.
OSA provides students with the tools and infrastructure necessary to be advocates for their own collective social and economic well-being. Stagnating state support for higher education has barely kept pace with the rising cost of living, dropping Ohio to rank 24th in the country for higher education return-on-investment while neighboring states climb higher every year. But that can change if our legislators shift their budget priorities.
We take a high-impact legislative advocacy approach to protect current and former student debt holders by influencing the state budget cycle. Through our statewide coalition with OSA members, local campuses, and partners, we are advancing a comprehensive “End Student Debt Policy Platform” that demands:
Make Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) funds available to students at community colleges and regional campuses.
Peg the State’s Share of Instruction to an automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustment.
Remove unnecessary financial barriers for the most at-risk students with targeted funds.
View our full platform here. We believe Ohio can become an educational and economic powerhouse again with significant investment in the institutions that mold the next generation of doers and innovators.
In 2017, OSA collected 130 student debt stories and released a three-part policy brief series that detailed how predatory practices of collection impact low-income borrowers, consumer protection of student loans, numbers of unenrolled income-eligible borrowers, and the impact of student debt on black women. We released the final report, “Ohio’s Forbearance: How Our Current Higher Ed Policy Fails Minorities, Women, and Working Class Families,” and hosted a subsequent Facebook Live discussion.