Office of Student Legislative Affairs Organizing Director Thuy Ngoc Pham joined one of the United States Student Association meetings last month. The meeting was held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1. Pham, who also serves as the International Student Chair at the USSA joined the meeting with the USSA officers, chairs of different caucuses and coalitions, affiliates.
The USSA is the United States’ earliest, biggest and most comprehensive nationwide student-led organization. Producing current and future leaders and increases students’ voice at the local, state and nationwide levels by mobilizing grassroots power to win concrete victories on student issues.
One of the issues USSA is currently working on is to make education more affordable by promoting H.R. 4170 or the student loan forgiveness act. In an article by Jill Schlesinger, editor-at-large for CCBS MoneyWatch.com, Schlesinger said that the total student loan debt in the US is close to $1 trillion. Student loan had surpassed the figure in auto loan and credit card loan. H.R. 4170 caps federal student loans at 3.4% interest rate and regulates other policies that will help students repay their student debt.
Not only did Pham represented international students but also Bellevue College students as a whole. This time around, the meeting started with debrief of the voter registration. The meeting also discussed about the USSA action agenda about issues that are going to be fought for in the federal level.
“We had he chance to update each other with the current issue, learned what other campuses are up to …. We learned a lot through our voter’s registration, we learned a lot about the lame duck legislative session and so determined what is going to be USSA’s next move,” said Pham. According to Pham, the meeting gives her the chance to bond with the other Boards Of Director members, get to know each other and see how they could support each other.
Another agenda USSA is working on is promoting the Federal DREAM Act. DREAM, which stands for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors is targeted to further open the accessibility for higher education, assisting undocumented students in gaining citizenship.