One of Oklahoma’s U.S. congressional representatives will address student loan debt in an event on Thursday.
Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., is hosting a community conversation event on college affordability at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 in the OSU-OKC Student Center.
Horn has called student loan debt a crisis.
I'm hosting a town hall about student debt crisis this Thursday at 6pm at @osuokc because of people like Maria - "I just want a chance to breathe, to not feel the mountain of student debt keep getting bigger and bigger.”— Congresswoman Kendra Horn (@RepKendraHorn) August 27, 2019
Horn’s discussion will focus on the student loan crisis, how it affects Oklahomans and what they can do about it.
“Students used to get a break on interest while they were in school and for 6 months after they graduate,” Horn said in an Aug. 27 tweet. “It was called a grace period. That changed, and now students are racking up hundreds or thousands in interest while they're doing the studying they took the loans out to do.”
Horn also sponsored the SLASH Act, or the Student Loan Accrual Support and Help Act. It would prohibit student loan companies from charging arbitrary interest rates. She has also supported acts that would require standardized practices manuals and incremental loan forgiveness for public servants.
The community conversation moderated by State Sen. Julia Kirk will also feature panelists such as Drew Duke, interim vice president of student affairs at University of Central Oklahoma, 2019 OKCPS Teacher of the Year Christina Kirk, and Samirah Mohamad, OU dental student and member of the American Student Dental Association.
Mohamed said she was contacted by one of Rep. Horn’s staffers following an ASDA lobbying effort in Washington D.C.
“One of Rep. Kendra Horn’s staffers remembered me and my experience with enormous student debt and how it is driving my post-graduate decisions and asked me to participate in the panel,” Mohamad said.
Mohamad is optimistic about Horn’s legislation, but understands there is a long road ahead.
“Student debt is [a] huge issue in our country that will require massive changes,” Mohamad said. “I doubt the legislation she supports will solve the issue outright, but progress has to start somewhere, and I’m pleased that the issue is being recognized and an attempt to address it is being made.”
This story was updated on Aug. 28 at 3:41 p.m. to reflect more information from Samirah Mohamad. This story was corrected at 10:08 p.m. to reflect the correct spelling of Samirah Mohamad's name.