The call for the abolition of all student debt has never been louder—but how did we get to a place where this demand is possible?

By Julia Rocha, Latino USA

Latino USA dives into the history of the student loan system in the U.S, as well as the stories of Black and Latino organizers that have been at the forefront of the movement for student debt cancellation.

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The history of the student loan system in the U.S goes back a couple of decades.

“We switched to student loans at the exact moment that low income people, Black and brown communities were enrolling” said Dr. Jalil Mustaffa Bishop, a professor of education at Villanova University and leading researcher in anti-racism and student loan policy.

He said that before the civil rights movement, higher education in the United States was federally funded on a grant-based system. But there was backlash from politicians who wanted to reduce government spending on social programs, just as more students of color demanded admission and representation in universities. Eventually, government funding decreased and the burden of paying for a college education shifted to students and their families.

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