Across the country, SEIU members and activists are advocating for students and the future of higher education by:
- Taking on the student debt crisis and for-profit industry
- Fighting for investments in public higher education
- Investing in underrepresented faculty and people of color
- Building community coalitions
TAKING ON THE STUDENT DEBT CRISIS AND FOR-PROFIT INDUSTRY
SEIU members and activists have been at the forefront of the student debt movement and push for accountability in the for-profit industry—leading to billions of dollars in debt relief and the closure of predatory for-profit colleges such as Corinthian College.
The Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, SEIU Local 1973, led the fight to pass several important student loan reforms which will make going to college more affordable in Connecticut.
FIGHTING FOR INVESTMENTS IN PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION
A majority of faculty and students work and study at 1,700 public colleges and universities. SEIU faculty members and allied activists have made college affordability and public investment a central part of their work.
INVESTING IN UNDERREPRESENTED FACULTY AND PEOPLE OF COLOR
People of color and women are underrepresented in the academy. Faculty are disproportionately part time and paid less than their white and male colleagues. The California Faculty Association has taken steps to address the “cultural taxation” of minority faculty, who have a unique burden placed on ethnic minority faculty in carrying out their responsibility to students and the university community.
The CFA contract establishes that the California State University System will provide a pool of $1.3 million to provide assigned time to faculty employees for several reasons,including student mentoring, advising and outreach, especially as these activities support underserved, first-generation, and/or underrepresented students.
BUILDING COMMUNITY COALITIONS
SEIU members are building a wider movement to win for all working families. Faculty Forward campaigns have had tremendous support of local and national elected officials, neighborhood groups and allies in the higher education advocacy community.
SEIU members and allies have rallied to bring federal attention to higher education working conditions and student debt. Faculty Forward activists supported the Adjunct Faculty Loan Fairness Act, sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) as a way for part-time faculty to more directly access the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.