One year ago, America’s youth overwhelming swept Barack Obama into office. Yesterday, leaders from a variety of youth organizations spoke with members of the press about what progress they feel President Obama and Congress are making on election promises to enact critical policy reforms. The press call happened in conjunction with the release of “One-Year Later,” a youth report on the federal government’s progress on a diverse range of subjects from healthcare to veteran affairs to higher education.
The United States Student Association (USSA) Vice President Lindsay McCluskey spoke about legislative efforts to pass student aid reform and the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. “The burden of paying for college has been passed on to students and working families, disproportionately impacting students of color, low income students, and students from other underrepresented communities,” said McCluskey. “However, President Obama and Congress have demonstrated a commitment to improving college access and affordability,” by passing the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3221) in the House and expressing support for the DREAM Act.
While students remain optimistic about the DREAM Act’s eventual passage, its sluggish progression through Congress is denying thousands of students the chance to pursue a college degree and further contribute to the economy. Additionally, the Senate has yet to take action on its version of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, postponing critical increases in financial aid for students taking on massive loan debt and tuition hikes. The USSA and students nationwide will continue to advocate for these pieces of legislation until they are signed into law by President Obama.