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Schumer wants to hear from college kids about debt

Senator invites university student to State of Union

January 12, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says students shouldn’t have to graduate from college with massive debt. Photo from
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If you’re a college student, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) wants to hear from you.

Schumer has announced the launch of an online campaign to collect the stories of students and parents who are struggling to pay for college or are burdened by massive amounts of student loan debt.

Schumer said his statewide campaign is a critical part of his push to get the federal government to seriously tackle the issue of college affordability.

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The total nationwide college debt has exploded past the $1 trillion mark, according to Schumer, who said he wants Congress to focus on the issue of college affordability and work to address it.

Schumer is asking New Yorkers to submit their stories on his website and through social media.

To help drive home his point, Schumer announced that he invited Sean McAllister, a student from West Islip who is a junior at Syracuse University, to be his guest at the president’s State of the Union Address in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.

McAllister has over $30,000 in student loan debt, Schumer said.

“I am honored that Sean McAllister will be able to join us for the State of the Union, and to help us highlight the student debt crisis in this country. Sean works construction to pay for school, and still makes Dean’s List. He is a smart young man, but is already $30K in the red,” Schumer said.

The problem of student debt is reaching crisis proportions, Schumer said.

“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 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. Because of this, student loan debt is a huge burden on the shoulders of millions of young Americans, and it is holding back their ability to achieve the American Dream and is a significant drag on our economy,” Schumer said. 

Student loan debt now exceeds auto loan debt and exceeds the amount Americans owe on credit cards, Schumer said. He cited a 2014 report in The Wall Street Journal in which economists and academics attributed student loan debt, in part, to hindering the ability for young people to afford rent, buy homes and greatly impacted their ability to accrue retirement savings.

Schumer told New Yorkers who are struggling with their student loans to tweet, post on Facebook or email him their stories through his website, at

Some steps are being taken.

Last month, Schumer announced that the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 — also known as the tax “extenders package” — made a college tax credit that he authored a permanent part of the U.S. tax code.

In addition, the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), which Schumer helped pass into law in 2009, is available to families earning up to $180,000 per year and provides a tax credit of up to $2,500 per year, per eligible student.


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