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FAMU Students, Educators Rally For Affordable Education

students rallied on campus
Donald DeBevoise / WFSU News

Florida A&M University students and professors held an on-campus campaign promoting voter registration and an awareness of student debt Friday. At the event, students were encouraged to take part in the political process.

The rally on the school’s campus helped kick off the National Education Association’s "Degrees Not Debt" campaign Friday morning. The campaign is part of a countrywide initiative by the NEA to support more relief for student debt and encourage students to vote in favor of pro-education politicians.

Chair of the NEA student program Chelsea Herrig says the campaign serves not only to educate students but also the public on student debt.

“It’s not only the fact that we want degrees not debt, but we’re making the public aware that there are ways to pay those back in a reasonable way with public service, loan forgiveness and income-driven repayment,” Herrig says.

FAMU students were able to sign a pledge supporting the campaign to be sent to members of Congress. Students could also register through the Tallahassee chapter of League of Women Voters, who partnered with the association at the rally. Student Florida Education Association spokesperson Tiffany McClary says FAMU’s student turnout is an encouraging sign for the campaign.

“All these different majors are coming out saying ‘I want to sign this pledge. I want my degree. I do not want debt,’" McClary says. "So, this is a huge outcome. I am so happy right now.”

The NEA plans to hold similar voter registration drives and rallies across Florida.