Chicago community activists and local elected officials delivered 88,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) regional office Thursday morning, urging the agency to investigate complex financial agreements called interest rate swaps.
Those who delivered the petition signatures, collected online by the Grassroots Collaborative and several other organizations, say cash-strapped local and state governments are being squeezed by the "toxic swaps" they entered into with banks before the Great Recession. The complicated deals, which come with hefty penalties and termination fees, were intended to save taxpayer-backed organizations money, but they backfired when the economy crashed.
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.