$142,000 in Loans: CBCI College Cyber Summit Focuses on Issues Facing Millennials
Actress Alfre Woodard hosted the #UFuture “cyber summit” on the morning of the first day of the Democratic National Convention. The event was hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI) and held at Johnson C. Smith University. Actor Hill Harper was also a facilitator.
Using all forms of technology including text, tweet, e-mail and video, students were able to ask members of Congress and other experts questions on issues that challenge college age Americans. Over twenty colleges were able to take part in the event by using the varied technology available, including using the hashtag #UFuture to submit questions.
“Not everyone could be here today but a lot of people are in the house via video,” Woodard told the audience at one point. The summit featured a discussion on a parade of issues and challenges important to millennials.
A student from Morehouse College asked a question on digital literacy that touched on braodband access. Microsoft Vice President Fred Humphries, a Morehouse grad, quickly took to the podium and answered.
“Science, technology, engineering and math. That’s where the opportunities are. That’s the future,” Humphries said. He noted that Mircosoft pays college grads $104,000 out of college for those who have technical skills.
“You have to go pursue the rights skills. Unemployment is 8.3%. Those with an engineering degree it’s 3%. Those with a computer science degree it’s 2%. That’s where you want to be. I don’t know how to make STEM sexy or cool but I’m here to tell you it’s a great living,” Humphries told the young audience.
Student loan issues also were discussed.
“I came out of Harvard Law School with a whole bunch of debt: $142,ooo,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) speaking on college costs. Sewell now represents the district newly minted Republican Artur Davis once held.
Sewell, a freshman Congressional Black Caucus member and former investment banker, has perhaps the most impressive education resume in Congress as a graduate of Harvard Law, Princeton and Oxford — and perhaps one of the most costly.
“It limits your horizons when you have that much debt. Even though school debt is good debt you have to manage it responsibly,” Sewell said. ”Don’t get extra loans and definitely don’t get those credit cards if you don’t need it,” she concluded.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who represents the first district of North Carolina, answered a Pell Grant question by tweet. After giving a general overview of Pell Grant cuts proposed by in the latest GOP budgets, Butterfield gave a general instruction that was probably not lost on the young audience.
“Please pay attention to this debate because it really and truly effects the affordability of higher education for each one of you and the generation that comes after you,” Butterfield said.
The cyber summit was attended by several other members of the CBC including Chair Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH).