UMD Students and Faculty: Enough is Enough

By KBJR News 1

April 20, 2012 Updated Apr 20, 2012 at 6:13 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -That's why signatures were being gathered at the University of Minnesota Duluth Friday in hopes that those at the top will hear the concerns of students and faculty, and as they say put "public" back in "public education."

Aaron Donais is sophomore at UMD who was one of the lucky ones to get scholarships to help him with his college costs.

At the end of this year however, some of those scholarships will run out and Donais will be forced to take on his student debt - already at $10,000- on his own.

"It's irritating. Past generations had the opportunity to get a job without having to go to college and now you ultimately need at least a two year degree to be able to get anywhere," said Donais.

That irritation is what brought 300 plus students and faculty members to Kirby Student Lounge at UMD to discuss the harsh reality students around the nation face.

"UMD leads Minnesota with students leaving college with debt at about $30,098 and Minnesota is fourth in the nation and so its becoming a real problem for our students," Hannan Mumm, student body president at UMD.

Continued hard times in D.C. are set to carry over to students...as the amount of funds available through Federal Pell grants could soon be cut.

"To think that we could take back a thousand dollars in money that we have been giving students...it's not criminal but ethically I struggle with it," said Michael Mullins, a faculty member with UMD.

Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar are battling growing debt in D.C.

The interest on Stafford Federal loans is set to double to 6.8 percent, something Senator Franken says is unfair seeing as interest rates for banks are much lower.

"Since these are federal loans, I mean they aren't going through banks or anything like that they are straight from the government, I don't know why the government would be charging banks point two-five percent and charging students six point 8 percent. So my bill would keep it at three point four percent which certainly makes sense with interest rates so low; why punish these students who have student loans," said Senator Al Franken.

"I hope that something gets fixed in the near future because while my generation might be able to deal with it, my kids generation certainly won't and I don't want to be dealing with that 20 years down the road," said Donais.

Signatures gathered at Friday's event will be passed along to the leaders at the school as well as those of the entire U of M system.