Schumer talks about students being #InTheRED

Sen. Charles Schumer spoke to The Record and other college newspapers from New York last Thursday.

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Sen. Charles Schumer spoke to The Record and other college newspapers from New York last Thursday.

Patrick Koster, News Editor

For the first time ever on Thursday, Sen. Charles Schumer held an exclusive phone conference with New York college newspapers to talk about college affordability.

“In today’s uber-competitive and globally connected economy, a college education is a necessity, but it is being priced as a luxury – and it is breaking the bank for students and families across Upstate New York. With tuition costs continuing to rise, middle-class families and their children are forced to take on significant debts in order to obtain a college diploma,” Schumer said.

“This student debt is debilitating, and it is a huge burden on the shoulders of millions of young Americans; it is holding back their ability to achieve the American Dream and is a significant drag on our economy – so it’s long past time that we start off on the path towards making college debt free for every student in this country.”

Schumer said Congress must focus on the issue of college affordability. In order to press Congress to focus on the issue, Schumer and other Senators have created the #InTheRed campaign. #InTheRed is a campaign that encourages students to help push Congress to address the issue of college affordability, by voicing their opinions.

“College should create a lifetime of opportunities, not a life sentence of debt and financial strain,” Schumer said.

Along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and other Senate Democrats, Schumer will be introducing legislation to help students and recent graduates who are struggling with college debt. As #InTheRed is happening, Schumer and other Senators are creating a bill called the Reducing Education Debt (RED) Act.

The RED Act will consist of:

* Making two years of in-state community college free

* Allowing student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at a lower rate of around 3 percent

* Ensuring Pell Grants keep up with rising tuition

The NY-SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, allows SUNY and CUNY schools to raise tuition by a maximum of $300 annually over the next five years. Under the RED Act, Schumer said tuition hikes will be eliminated.

While the RED Act is gaining a lot of support, it does have its fair share of critics, and Schumer realizes this.

Schumer said the bill introduce the “Buffett rule,” which would increase taxes for multi-millionaires, and eliminate tax breaks for oil companies.

Schumer urged students to voice their opinions in order to support the RED Act and put America on a path toward debt-free college tuition.

“We can’t make this happen unless we have popular support,” Schumer said. “We need you to help us. We need our students. Across New York, and across the country, many Senators are making the same call I am making here in New York in their states, to get the students in their state to email, to blog, to tweet, to petition, to write their Senators and Congressmen and say ‘Support the #InTheRed campaign.’”

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