Earlier this month, the Associated Students of Portland State University adopted resolutions to support the USSA campaigns to pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) and the Develop, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. These resolutions, passed without objections by the student government Senate, show that Portland students are truly dedicated to making college a right for all. Additionally, the California State Student Association, representing 450,000 students in the California State University System, passed a resolution endorsing both SAFRA and the Private Student Loan Debt Swap Act of 2009 which allows students to exchange their private loans for direct loans. SAFRA was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in September.
Portland's student aid resolution does more than simply support the legislation. Students called on Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merekly to vote for the Senate companion bill of SAFRA. Senator Merekly is critical for the bill's passage, as he is a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension committee, the committee with jurisdiction over higher education reform. The California resolution points out the tremendous debt students are graduating with and the benefits of the direct loan program.
The DREAM Act resolution notes that the State of Oregon has both financial and altruistic interests in allowing undocumented students to have access to federal financial aid and a pathway towards citizenship. While there has been no movement on the bill since it's most recent introduction this past Spring, there is ample bipartisan support in both Chambers of Congress and President Obama has indicated he would sign the DREAM Act into law.
Student governments are passing similar resolutions across the country, amplifying the student voice in an effort to bring about vital higher education reforms.