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Senator Warren At Westfield State

Senator Elizabeth Warren discusses student loan debt with Westfield State University students, city officials and legislators

February 1, 2016- As part of the #InTheRed college affordability campaign launched by U.S. Senate Democrats on January 20, Senator Elizabeth Warren visited the Westfield State University campus to meet with students about the issue of student loan debt.

The dialogue is a way to highlight the urgency for Congress to act and to pass this legislative package. It also underscores the overall need to put America on a path toward debt-free college. Senator Warren and her peers will share the stories they hear on Capitol Hill over the coming months and to garner support for this legislative package.

Westfield State President Ramon S. Torrecilha stressed the impact Westfield State students have on the economy of the Commonwealth.

“Ninety-three percent of Westfield State University students come from Massachusetts,” Torrecilha said. “They are the teachers, the police officers, the scientists, the social workers, and the artists who are the backbone of the Commonwealth. Student debt is a dinner table discussion for them. Our students appreciated the opportunity to share their stories with Senator Warren personally and to know they will be part of her narrative in Washington D.C. as she continues to tackle the issue of student debt.”

Senator Warren expressed her enthusiastic support of public higher education.

Watch some of the highlights
“I believe in the opportunities that public education has to offer,” Warren said to a standing room only crowd. “Education can push the economy forward, but student debt is holding us back.”

Five students from varying backgrounds shared their personal experiences with the audience that included City of Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan, State Senator Don Humason, Representative John Velis and City of Westfield City Council President Brent Bean. Junior Jon Cubetus  ’17 of Sandwich, Mass. said his Cape Cod upbringing does not reflect his economic status.

“I grew up on Cape Cod and people think we have money, but we don’t,” said Cubetus. “I have $32,000 in debt as a junior and will probably accumulate more by graduation. Plus I hope to go to law school. My goal is to use what I’ve learned and change this situation and make it better for other people.”

Senator Warren issued a call to action to students.

“You’ve worked hard to get here,” Warren said. “I am asking you as students to get active on this issue.”