Student debt, employment focus of #FutureForum event

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Photo/Anthony Victoria: Pete Aguilar and Eric Swalwell.
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Cal State San Bernardino students met with Congressmen Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) and Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) on Tuesday to discuss issues affecting millennials.

Student debt, voter turnout, and employment opportunities were among the items brought forth by twenty or so students who attended the #FutureForum at the Santos Manuel Student Union.

“This is stuff we enjoy,” said Aguilar about engaging with millennials.

“We are better at representing you when you engage with us,” Swalwell followed.

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#FutureForum was established in 2015 to listen to the issues affecting the nation’s young population. Eighteen members, including Aguilar and Swalwell, are members of the sub-committee that serves as a pillar for the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

Swalwell, who serves as the chairman of #FutureForum, admitted that Congress could do a better job of addressing student debt.

“In 365 days (one year), our government has made $100 billion off of students,” he said. “I think that’s wrong. We need to invest in people. The return will be an educated population that will contribute to the workforce.”

When asked about student loan fraud and the steps being taken by Congress to eliminate such threats, both Aguilar and Swalwell pointed out that key bills such as the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act, and employer-led student loan repayment plans can help streamline the financial aid process for students.

CSUSB students also shared their concerns relating to non-paid internships. Both congressmen emphasized the importance of instituting tax incentives to encourage more employers to hire college interns.

“People need to be exposed [to trades and careers],” Aguilar said. “There’s more that we can and should do.”

Maria Ramos, who graduated from Cal State San Bernardino with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development in the Spring, is glad more is being done to address the economic concerns of college students.

“I feel they understand us,” said Ramos. “I think it’s great to hear what they are doing in Congress to alleviate student concerns.”

The event was held in conjunction with CSUSB’s Associated Student Incorporated.

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