CalNonprofits Articles

The Assembly Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector held a hearing on December 5th in Los Angeles, focused on student debt and the challenges it creates for the nonprofit workforce.

Assemblymember Limon
Assemblymember Monique Limón
, chair of the committee, opened the hearing by explaining: “While there are many accomplishments to celebrate in terms of the (nonprofit) sector, it also faces unique challenges that threaten the success and viability of the sector. Today we examine the crisis of student loan debt of the nonprofit workforce. Student debt makes it much harder for nonprofits to recruit and retain a diverse staff.”

Assemblymember Gipson Hearing
Noting the California legislature’s interest in this issue, Assemblymember Mike Gipson explained: “We’re trying to make sure individuals, once they complete college, aren’t then burdened with student debt so that they can have a prosperous life.” Gipson also noted that one takeaway for him from the hearing was the importance of having more oversight of lending practices. 

Assemblymember Gloria
Assemblymember Todd Gloria
thanked the speakers at the hearing for sharing their stories, and noted his concerns: “Particularly when it comes to the housing crisis, it worries me intensely, when you have a generation of people not moving out of the home…delaying marriage, delaying childbirth, these have massive implications for tax revenues and society in general.”

Assemblymember FriedmanAssemblymember Laura Friedman raised the importance of counselors helping families navigate the financial aid process, commenting, “There’s a real multiplier there if you connect students with resources…you reduce the need for getting out of debt later on if you can avoid it in the first place.”

Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry
recognized the speakers and the information they shared, and highlighted that legislators could help get information out even more broadly: “My concern is making sure public is aware of what you have to offer.”

Speakers at the hearing included Jan Masaoka, CEO of CalNonprofits; Geoff Green, CEO of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation; Yanin Senachai from Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles; Natalia Abrams from Student Debt Crisis; Seyron Foo from Southern California Grantmakers; Patrick Bourke with ECMC Foundation and Lizette Navarette from Community College League of California. You can watch the full hearing here. (Photos from the hearing are courtesy of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.

Among the things we at CalNonprofits are grateful for in 2017 is the Assembly’s leadership in forming this new select committee and for such engaging participation by legislators and nonprofit leaders. For more information about the impact of student debt on the nonprofit workforce, check out CalNonprofits’ Student Debt Toolkit for Nonprofit Employers and see results from CalNonprofits’ survey on student debt.

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