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Group Seeks Input On College Debate

The Post – Ohio University
By Will Drabbold

A group advocating greater national urgency in solving the problem of student debt will be taking its case to students Wednesday in Baker University Center.

Young Invincibles, a nonprofit youth advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., is sending two representatives to Ohio University to hold a roundtable discussion about college affordability and how debt is impacting OU students.

“We’re coming because student debt is an issue for a lot of people,” said Brian Burrell, state outreach and policy coordinator for Young Invincibles. “We want to make sure that the students at OU have access to some of the info they need to make smart decisions to borrow for college.”

Young Invincibles was founded in 2009 and has visited more than 30 colleges to discuss the growing problem, Burrell said.

The roundtable will begin with a presentation from Burrell and Dustin Summers, state outreach and fundraising coordinator, who will educate students on how they can pay for college, what scholarships they’re eligible for and make sure they understand student loans.

“The other half is getting their opinions on policy ideas and finding out what ideas are affecting them so we can get a pulse on what’s affecting them,” Burrell said.

That information is gathered and taken back to D.C. to make policy decisions, he said.

Andrew Meyer, OU Student Senate’s Director of Outreach, who was tasked with organizing the Young Invincibles’ visit to OU, said he hopes students take advantage of this opportunity to make their voices heard by a national advocacy group.

“It takes a lot to get their voice heard outside the university,” Meyer said. “I want OU students to speak about OU experiences that will affect OU.”

Meyer has contacted OU College Democrats and Republicans, along with several other student organizations, and said he hopes turnout will be high.

Ellie Hamrick, a representative of the OU Student Union, said a few members of the Student Union will attend the roundtable to make the group’s opinions known.

“I do think that we do have a crisis of college affordability here as many schools do, especially in Ohio, so it was probably a good choice (for Young Invincibles to come here),” Hamrick said. “Affordability is the number one reason students drop out at OU.”