USSA Lobbies Congress

Several UC Irvine students joined a group effort to lobby Congress to protect public financing of higher education and thereby continue to grant millions of college students across the country continued access to federal financial aid for higher education.

Six UC Irvine representatives joined several other United States Student Association members on a lobbying mission in Washington D.C. on Friday Sept. 19. USSA is a coalition of student activists and leaders from colleges across the country that are committed to student interests, such as higher education affordability and federal and state spending on higher education.

“Through today’s efforts, we hope that members of Congress and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hear the student voices loud and clear—Our education is a right and our institutions of higher education must not become profit centers for banks or other corporations,” United States Student Association member and third-year political science major Parshan Khosravi said.

Khosravi and the other representatives targeted 11 congressional representatives as part of their campaign to win support for increases in federal financial aid to students.

One of the main objectives for the USSA mission was to raise support for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s Higher Education Affordability Act in addition to supporting the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act which was last reauthorized in 2008. The Higher Education Act provides federal assistance to students and their families with financial need. Harkin’s proposed Higher Education Affordability Act will also in addition it sets federal standards on banks who lend to college students to better protect students from incurring too much debt.

USSA has spent many months of preparation for their recent lobbying effort, including many hours spent in meetings and workshops focused on advocacy and lobbying at their annual congress which was held at UC Irvine from Aug. 7 to 12.

In addition to promoting increased spending for higher education, USSA vocally targets banks and lending companies that many feel profit too much from the financial struggles of students and their families. USSA President Maxwell Love outlined this goal and the belief that led him and the other USSA representatives to Washington to advocate for student’s rights.

“We must ensure that Congress crafts a strong rule, as well as strong provisions in the Higher Education Act so that taxpayer dollars are not subject to the waste, fraud, and abuse when they are skimmed off the top of tuition. Our hard-earned money should not be lining the pockets of corporations.”