September 2022 Newsletter
Issue #67
Student Debt
  • As of 2022, more than 45 million Americans collectively owe $1.6 trillion in education costs – averaging about $36,000 per person. This is more than double of the amount outstanding in 2008 when Americans owed $600 billion in student loans.

  • Among adults ages 18 to 29, 34% say they have outstanding student loans for their education.

  • The share of young adult households with student debt doubled from 1998 to 2016.
         Pew Research Center

  • Funding from states on higher education has declined steadily from 70% in the 1970’s to 60% currently.
         The Urban Institute

  • The average 2021-2022 annual tuition for public, four-year colleges was $10,740 for in-state residents, and $27,560 for out-of-state residents, In addition, annual room and board costs added an average of $11,950 to the cost of college.

  • Federal Pell Grants provide a maximum annual grant of $6,895 per student for the 2022-2023 school year so many students are forced to take out student loans to bridge the gap between grants and their annual tuition costs.

  • The percentage of households with student debt rose from 8% in 1989 to 21% in 2019. That trend is true for younger households as well; the prevalence of student debt for those households has climbed from 15% in 1989 to 41% in 2019.

  • The typical undergraduate student finishes school almost $25,000 in debt.
             U.S. Department of Education

  • The growth in debt significantly exceeds the increase in the number of students, which has only risen by 2% among undergraduates and by 12% at the graduate level.

  • Since 2004, student loan debt has risen faster than other household debt and has surpassed both auto loan and credit card debt in 2010. Student debt is also the 2nd largest source of household debt, trailing only mortgage debt.

  • On average, women owe nearly $3,000, or 10% more student debt than men. Black borrowers owe over $13,000, or nearly 50% more than white borrowers.

  • The percentage of families with an educational loan varies by race:
  • 30% of Black families
  • 20% of White families
  • 14% of Hispanic families
                  The Federal Reserve

  • Student debt may depress the homeownership rates of households led by young adults. From 2005 to 2014, the homeownership rate for all households dropped by 4% while the rate for households led by someone age 25–34 dropped by nearly 9%. Other research has suggested that student debt can affect other aspects of the economy as well — hampering the growth of small businesseslimiting how much Americans can save for retirement, and even delaying marriage and family growth.

  • 22% of college graduates ages 25 to 39 with loans are likely to say they are either finding it difficult to just getting by financially compared to 11% of graduates without loans.
             Pew Research Center

  • 36% of student loan holders think the lifetime financial costs of their bachelor’s degree outweigh the benefits.

For more on the Education System click here.
How College Loans Exploit Students for Profit
A TED Talk, featuring professor Sajay Samuel, who says that "Once upon a time in America, going to college did not mean graduating with debt" and proposes a radical solution: link tuition costs to a degree's expected earnings, so that students can make informed decisions about their future, restore their love of learning and contribute to the world in a meaningful way. Watch now. 
For more on the Education System, click here.
RIP Medical Debt
A national nonprofit whose purpose is to strengthen communities by abolishing financially burdensome medical debt. Works to be a source of justice in an unjust healthcare finance system. Provides a unique solution for patient-centered healthcare providers and strives to become a moral force for systemic change. Learn more.
For more on the Health Care System, click here.
The History of Reparations
An episode from the PBS series, Origin of Everything, traces the racial terror of slavery to the rampant housing discrimination of the 20th century, making the case for financial reparations for the descendants of those enslaved in the US. Also shows how this argument has significance beyond the Black American community. Watch now.
For more on Racism, click here.
Racial Equity Institute
A resource from the YWCA offered in many cities across the country, dedicated to promoting racial equity at all levels by engaging with individuals, community groups, and institutions. Offers a full range of consulting, training and education, community engagement programs, racial equity resources, and annual events the provide opportunities for all to develop the knowledge and resources to move towards racial equity. Learn more.
For more on Racism, click here.
Manifest Destiny Jesus
A resource from New Day Films that examines how portraying Jesus as white has reinforced cultural divides from the colonial era up through our modern period of rampant gentrification, segregated churches, and police violence. Asks the question: How can we build a society where we truly care about our neighbors who don't look like us? The film weaves together the stories of a white family who has adopted two black boys, an African American dancer, and an interracial Seattle congregation reckoning with their stained glass image of Christ. These stories, intertwined with the lives of the larger gentrifying community and historical interviews, suggest that there is a better way forward but it takes courage. Learn more. 
For more on Racism, click here.
Solar Under the Sun
A ministry of the Synod of the Sun, a governing body of the Presbyterian Church, SUS trains volunteers to design and install solar power systems with communities that lack reliable electrical power. They train, equip, link and support teams and their partners to create systems that can run water treatment systems, such as those installed by their ministry partner Living Waters for the World. These solar power systems can also be used as a power source for communication, medical clinic refrigerators or x-ray equipment, or can help with lighting needs.
For more on the Environment, click here.
Earth's Recent Climate Spiral
A short visualization from NASA, that graphically shows the gradual warming of the Earth over the past 120 years. The depicted temperatures are taken from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies' Surface Temperature Analysis. Earth's recent warming trend is causing sea levels to rise, precipitation patterns to change, and pole ice to melt. Few now disagree that recent global warming is occurring, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that humans have created a warming surge that is likely to continue. A continuation could impact many local agricultures and even the global economy. Watch now.
For more on the Environment, click here.
The U.S. and the Holocaust
A documentary from PBS that examines the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany in the context of global antisemitism and racism, the eugenics movement in the United States and race laws in the American south.
(Premieres Sept. 18.)
For more on Religious Intolerance, click here.
The Visiting Room Project
A digital experience that invites the public to sit face-to-face with people serving life without the possibility of parole to hear them tell their stories, in their own words. More than five years in the making, the site is the only collection of its kind, containing over 100 filmed interviews with people currently serving life without parole. The interviews were filmed at Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, which is, in many ways, the epicenter of life without parole sentences worldwide. As of 2022, more than 55,000 Americans are living in prisons serving life without parole, their lives largely hidden from public view. Learn more. 
For more on the Criminal Justice System,
Ministry Against the Death Penalty
Fosters creative, reflective and educational programs that awaken hearts and minds, inspire social change, and strengthen democracy’s commitment to human rights. Inspired by the compassion of Jesus and his strong expression of mercy and justice to stand side by side with those who are outcasts in our society, MADP is committed to promoting compassionate alternatives to the death penalty, including restorative justice and funding for victims’ services. Also provides practical resources such as tips to writing to prisoners. Learn more.
For more on Capital Punishment, click here.
The Church’s Best-Kept Secret:
A Primer on Catholic Social Teaching
By Mark Shea. Lays out the basics of Catholic social teaching in a way accessible to the ordinary Catholic as well as to any other person of good will attempting to grasp this often profoundly misunderstood area of Church doctrine and practice. Writing in everyday language for the non-scholar, concisely describes the roots of Catholic social teaching in Scripture and Tradition and gives simple, practical examples of how it works in ordinary life. Sketching the meaning of the Dignity of the Human Person, the Common Good, Subsidiarity, and Solidarity, bridges the gulf in our politics and cultural warfare to make the case that Catholic Social Teaching, properly understood, is common sense, as well as the path to living a happier and more just common life for each human person. Read more.
For more Catholic Social Teaching resources,
80,000 Hours
A nonprofit organization that provides research and support to help students and graduates switch into careers that effectively tackle the world’s most pressing problems. 80,000 is based on the number of working hours in an average person spends on their career: 40 years x 50 weeks x 40 hours. Offers:
  • Online guides — that cover key ideas such as how to compare careers in terms of impact, which global problems are most pressing, ideas for new high-impact career paths, and how to make a career plan
  • Podcasts — in-depth interviews about the world’s most pressing problems, and how one can help solve them
  • Job board — with current opportunities to work on big and neglected problems and build skills
  • One-on-one advice — which helps engaged readers enter the paths that are best for them, by helping them make an individual plan and by making introductions to mentors, jobs and funding.

For more on Volunteer and Service, click here.
Assists people in the preparation and processing of their cross-cultural, ministerial, and life transitions to continue their Christian call to mission. Believes that mission doesn’t end when someone returns to their home culture. Their core values include:
  • Community: Supportive, nurturing, inclusive, collaborative
  • Honoring Lived Experience: Basis for moving forward, integrity, whole person
  • Faith-based: Fidelity to our gospel call to mutual service
  • Human Dignity and Social Justice: Solidarity, inclusivity, respect for all, global citizenship
  • Commitment to Mission: Accompaniment, integration, transformation
For more Volunteer & Service resources, click here.
Claiming Your Voice:
Speaking Truth to Power
By Norvene Vest. Examines four contemporary deforming patterns: market culture, American empire, climate crisis, and racism. In consideration of the Christian foundations in prophetic imagination and Benedictine spirituality, illustrates that Americans are called to provide energy for hope, to cut through public numbness, and to penetrate the deceptions of imperial consciousness so that God and the sacred again become visible and empowering for all people. Read more.
For more on Public Witness, click here.
The Journal of Social Encounters
An interdisciplinary peace and justice studies journal published online by the Center for Social Justice and Ethics at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, in collaboration with the Peace Studies Department at College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. The JSE publishes essays by authors from any country in each issue, but some essays by African authors are always included so that African scholarship on peace, conflict and social justice will become better known. Learn more.
For more Justice resources, click here.
Important Dates This Month
Individuals Honored This Month
September 5th
If you can't feed a hundred people,
then feed just one.
September 14th
On behalf of my outraged Christian conscience, I raise my voice in protest [against the treatment of Jews], and I assert that all men, Aryans and non-Aryans, are brothers because they have been created by the same God; that all men, whatever their race or religion, have the right to be respected by individuals and states. The present anti-Semitic pressures flout human dignity and violate the most sacred rights of the human person and family.
September 22nd
Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves.
September 30
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
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