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A.S. Events This Week Inform Students About Debt

Students will have a chance at scoring some cost-free Ramen noodles at the Arbor today, as part of a series of events this week called “Week of Revenue,” which aims to provide students with education on student debt and the factors surrounding tuition costs at both the state and University level.

Sponsored by the Associated Students Office of the External Vice President for Statewide Affairs, the week-long event will feature discussion on how universities can use alternative resources to lower the cost of tuition, amongst other topics. Student debt is one of the main issues that the event series focuses on, as the amount of student borrowing has grown considerably in recent years. A recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics reports that between the years 1995 and 2004, subsidized loan recipients rose from 22 percent to 28 percent, while the percentage of unsubsidized loan recipients went from 10 percent to 21 percent of all undergraduate students.

Week of Revenue will feature events explaining what possible policymaking initiatives — such as marijuana legalization or an oil severance tax — can help bring an end to rising tuition costs and student debt. Along with events throughout the week, Week of Revenue will host an Elected Officials Forum on Friday featuring Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, California State Assembly Member Das Williams and Daraka Larimore-Hall, chair of the Santa Barbara Democratic Party and secretary of the California Democratic Party.

According to Carlos Lopez, campus organizing director of Academic Affairs and of the Office External VP of Statewide Affairs, the inspiration for the Week of Revenue stemmed from a desire to try mitigating this still-growing pool of debt.

“A majority of students have student debt in one form or another. We want to inform them of the details of their debt, the disadvantages that come from having so much debt and then the ideas out there for reducing their debt,” Lopez said.

Today’s event, for example, A Modest Meal, will feature not just ramen noodles but also facts about student debt, while an event tomorrow called Face the Facts, will bring face painting and a photo campaign to converse about these issues.

Lopez said Wednesday and Thursday will feature events drawing attention to student campaigns, initiated by the UC Student Association (UCSA), that aim to find economic solutions for the low amount of state funds available as a result of California’s underfunded budget. This year, students are looking to policymaking solutions such as the legalization of marijuana and passage of an oil severance as some such solutions.

On Wednesday, an event called Bring the Green will give an in-depth look at the debate over whether or not marijuana should be legalized. Free Crushcakes cupcakes will be available to all attendees.

The oil severance tax will be explained during Thursday’s event Oil Severance, in which students can spin a wheel containing information on the purported benefits of an oil severance tax.

Friday’s event featuring elected officials who, according to Lopez, have already done much to lower student debt or look for other sources of funding for public higher education. Lopez said Das Williams is a strong advocate for legislation taxing marijuana while Hannah Beth Jackson has worked on legislation to lower student debt; he added that student officials plan to get a lot of information from Beth Jackson in regards to her support for legislation targeting student debt.

“We’re specifically hoping we can ask her [about her] process, details of the bill and if she wants to support it in the future,” Lopez said.

Representatives for Congresswoman Lois Capps and California State Assembly Republican Member Tim Donnelly will also make appearances.

Monday through Thursday’s events will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Arbor, and Friday’s event will take place on the Student Resource Building Lawn.

 

A version of this story appeared on page 3 of Monday, February 3, 2014′s print edition of the Daily Nexus.

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