U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8) was at the University of Illinois at Chicago Wednesday morning to talk with students about higher education and college affordability.
"I can't think of something more important as an investment to our nation than making sure that we make college affordable, and that we get to a point where students are not starting off life with tremendous amounts of student loan debt," Duckworth told reporters after the town hall.
The event, sponsored by UIC student organizations and Young Invincibles Action, was supposed to be a candidate forum, but Kirk declined to participate, Duckworth said.
The congresswoman used the event to detail college affordability proposals she is sponsoring in the U.S. House, namely the "In the Red Act." The proposal would adjust Pell Grants for inflation, allow borrowers to refinance student debt at lower interest rates and provide students with two years of tuition-free community college.
Despite having lost the Democratic presidential nomination, "the Bernie revolution" will continue with the "next phase" launching nationwide Wednesday night.
Some 2,600 watch parties and meetings are set to take place across the country tonight as former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) addresses thousands of his supporters to "lay out some of the next steps we can take as a movement to empower a wave of progressive candidates this November and win the major upcoming fights for the values we share," according to Our Revolution President Jeff Weaver, who also served as Sanders' presidential campaign manager.
As graduation season approaches and Illinoisans grapple with a 10-monthlong state budget impasse that has negatively impacted funding for college students, higher education is at the top of mind for many people in the Prairie State.
And while income inequality, immigration reform and foreign policy have monopolized much of the discussion in the 2016 presidential election, higher education funding and policies have also become hot issues for voters -- particularly millennials -- when analyzing the platforms of the White House hopefuls. Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has touched that political nerve with his call for free tuition at public colleges and universities, garnering a groundswell of support among young voters.
GoodCall culled data on the remaining presidential candidates' statements, voting records and official campaign platforms on several policy issues pertaining to higher education, including student loan debt repayment, interest rates, tuition, financial aid and potential reform ideas.
There was palpable anger in the standing-room only audience as the Alliance of City College Unions hosted a town hall meeting Monday night to discuss a number of issues, including tuition raises and program consolidations.
Following February's no-confidence vote for City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, faculty members say they have been let down by the administration, save a select few.
Loretta Ragsdell, president of the city colleges' part-time faculty union, thanked all the politicians who have advocated on behalf of faculty.
"We have a lot of friends in politics," said Ragsdell. "Not Rauner, and certainly not Rahm."