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NEA Student Program member to Senate Budget Committee: ‘Take action to make college more affordable’

Virginia teaching student testifies in hearing on the impact of student loan debt

WASHINGTON - June 04, 2014 -

Teacher-to-be Brittany Jones borrowed more than $70,000 to pay for her degree in education from a public university in Virginia and has been working up to three jobs since graduation just to pay her monthly loan payments.

During testimony before the Senate Budget Committee today, Jones asked committee members to take action to help make college more affordable so “all students have a fair shot at pursuing their dreams.”

Jones encouraged support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s student loan refinancing bill and asked members to “increase student aid, especially for those who need the most financial help.” Jones requested that Congress expand loan forgiveness programs in order to make careers in public service, like teaching, more attainable.

“I’ve seen my friends and classmates turn away from a career in teaching because they can’t afford the education they need,” said Jones.

Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray underscored the need for action. “For many Americans who want to further their education and build their skills, taking out student loans has become a college prerequisite,” said Murray. “But that debt can have lasting consequences for borrowers and for our nation’s economy. Now, and in the future, we need to make sure that people who want to further their education are better able to afford college and manage their student debt.”

The issue of college affordability is very important to the entire NEA membership, but it’s of special concern to the 60,000 members of NEA’s Student Program. Brittany Jones is the former president of the Virginia Student Education Association. “Our Student members are preparing to be the next generation of educators. Our goal is to become a classroom teacher, not a teacher with more loan debt than he or she makes in a year,” said Jones.

Total student loan debt in the U.S. currently stands at a staggering $1.2 trillion, surpassing total credit card debt.
For more information on NEA’s “Degrees Not Debt” campaign, a national effort that aims to reduce student debt and make college more affordable for all, please go to

Follow NEA at Join the conversation and track events by following #DegreesNotDebt.
To see photos from today’s hearing, please click here.


The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823,