The Debt Part of the Protests

According to a recent piece at CNBC, many of the protesters involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement are demanding a redress of student loans. Unmanageable student loan debt is a fairly common feature of the people involved in protests.

According to the article:

One proposed list of demands for the Occupy Wall Street movement includes “free college tuition” and “immediate across the board forgiveness” of student debt. While neither demand may be very realistic, the student debt problem is very real. …Outstanding student debt is on pace to top $1 trillion in a matter of months. Student debt surpassed credit card debt in 2010, and has not looked back. The average 2011 college graduate had $27,204 in student debt.

The unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 was 14.7 percentage in September according to the government, putting the finances of recent graduates on a collision course with the dismal job market. Predictably, student loan default rates are rising.

While it’s very, very unlikely anyone’s going to agree to the “free college tuition” and “immediate across the board forgiveness” plan, they actually aren’t particularly radical demands.

Free university education is, in fact, fairly standard in most of the developed world.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer