The Vermont Cynic

Tuition protest held


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Students protesting college debt marched from the Davis Center to Waterman, chanting in front of the administrative building.

 

UVM students organized a “Million student march” April 13 to demand tuition-free college and the cancellation of student debt.

 

30 people performed in the protest.

 

Tuition for out-of-state students at UVM has increased by 3.5 percent over the past five years, according to College Factual.

 

In that same period, in-state tuition has increased by 2.4 percent, according to College Factual.

 

Public four-year colleges experienced a 13 percent increase in tuition nationally during that same time period, according to Collegeboard.

 

Former UVM student Valentine Kulsic led the protest.

 

Kulsic said he dropped out of UVM several years ago due to an inability to get loans and pay his tuition.

 

He now works as a dishwasher and has $13,000 in debt, he said.

 

Several students watched the protesters as they marched to Waterman.

 

“I think the tuition is extremely high and it’s punishing out-of-state students,” sophomore Tyra Martinez said. “It makes anyone out-of-state not want to come here.”

 

Sophomore Sabrina Smith said she agrees the cost of college is high.

 

“I’m  not sure that chanting about it and writing signs about it is going to do much unless you have a plan for a direct course of action to change that issue,” Smith said.

 

Russell Evans, media consultant for the protest, said they are protesting the debt students have when they graduate college.

 

“[Graduates] aren’t even working to make a living.” Evans said. “They are just working to pay off debt and we think that’s just unfair, we think that’s exploitative, and we think this needs to change.”

 

He said he hopes to raise awareness of student debt and have administrators hear their concerns.

“It seems like we had more people than we did last semester,” Evans said. “It was good, it was passionate, energetic, and people aired their grievances peacefully and respectfully and I’m proud of that.”

 

This protest follows a previous million student march that occurred in November 2015.

 

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Tuition protest held