At a makeshift campground outside the Los Angeles City Hall, Ron Cabrera from the San Fernando Valley is participating in the Occupy LA protests. Cabrera says one reason he's demonstrating is for a better way to pay for higher education. He’s not impressed with the President Barack Obama's efforts to help students repay their loans: Obama announced Wednesday a plan to help college graduates repay their student loans.
“The bottom line is all the money that we’ve spending on the wars would pay for the education of everyone in the United States," said Cabrera. "It’s all just a smoke screen — what is it — a dog and pony show.”
Cabrera graduated with a political science degree from UCLA a few years ago. He says he’s deferred paying back about $20,000 in loans.
On a park bench outside Occidental College senior Rebecca Miller says she dreads the day she’ll have to pay back thousands of dollars in student loans. She welcomes any help the government wants to send her way.
“It would make it a lot easier for me to focus on doing what I want to do after graduation instead of just having to get the first job that comes my way and having to give all my energy to that," she said. "I’d have a little bit more room to actually pursue my goals."
When Miller graduates, she says she hopes to use her English literature degree to teach in another country. Miller says her plan may not become a reality, however, because her parents are putting her and two other siblings through college. Miller says she may have to focus first on repaying her debt.
Miller's story is a familiar tale among millions of American students — after mortgages, student loans are the second most common form of debt in this country.