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The High Cost of Student Debt

July 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

By: Khalil Boggs

Many young adults dream about going to college. They imagine the class lectures and great parties, amazing friends they will meet, and enjoying the independence of having free time. However, they do not stop to think about how much debt they will have once they graduate. According to statistics released by the White House about the student loan debate, most college students end up in debt–71 percent of students graduate from college with about $29,000 of debt. What’s driving students into debt? Congress? Banks? Colleges?

In the early 1990s, the average tuition for a public and private four-year institution was roughly $5,243 or $13,237 per year. By 2011, the prices became $15,918 or $32,617 a year. That is a major jump in the span of 20 years. With these prices, students are taking out extremely large loans just to stay in school, which has motivated President Barack Obama to try and enact his loan forgiveness initiative.

A Twitter user had a conversation with President Obama. Her name was Caitlin. She responded to the initiative: “Seems to me like an attempt to put a band-aid on a broken leg.” She asks,”What are we doing to actually lower the cost, so these loans will no longer be necessary.” She makes an excellent point. Yes, student loan forgiveness is a great idea and could potentially help millions of people, but what are we doing to stop this vicious cycle? Students go to school, take out a loan, graduate, their loan gains interest, and yet they still cannot get a job and are still stuck with the burden of these payments.

Why are students in so much debt? Banks lend money and collect payments. If colleges were still relatively low, would we even need loans? Colleges aren’t charging students an “arm and a leg” they are charging an arm, leg, kidney, liver, and your brain.

Colleges are facing more pressures to raise tuition due to larger pension, higher healthcare and technology costs. But the administration’s plan to lower education costs could change the face of education. Obama’s plan for lowering costs has been the use of competency based degrees. Instead of awarding credit based on how many credit hours a student has it would be based on how much a student can prove they know. If they pass a test with a certain score they can get credit for the course. There is an initiative called Pay as you Earn, and as you earn the credits, you pay them off. Congress is standing in the way of these proposals. They have not passed the bills necessary to make these things happen.

In fact, Congress is looking to double the interest rate on student loans, making them more than seven percent. In addition, banks(Bank Rate) are making subtle changes to policies that would put students in more debt.

While larger banks are more reluctant to lend to students, credit unions and community banks are more than willing. Sometimes they will approve a student for a personal loan and not a private student loan because the personal loan does not offer the same payback protection. The idea of a student loan is to prevent students from taking out more than necessary, a personal loan can be approved for any amount. Allowing students to rack up debt. So another question is brought to the forefront, are banks doing this on purpose to get more money out of us, the students. So with Congress not approving bills to lower college tuition, and looking to double interest rates, what are students to do? Students have no control over what happens.

In a country where a college education is almost mandatory to get a good job and make a decent living, it sure is getting harder to afford. While we continue the student loan debate, ask yourself, who is to blame? Colleges for these price hikes, or big banks, which are shelling out cash for education? I say it is a strong combination of both. Colleges are getting to highly unaffordable rates, and banks are over lending purposely to unsuspecting naive students.

Possible Immigration Reform in the Near Future?

July 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

By: Uri-Biia Si-Asar

About a year ago on June 27th, 2013, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act was voted upon by the Senate. The Senate voted 68-32 and the immigration reform bill was passed. Some of the key components of the Act included a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country and tougher security measures put in place before immigrants gained legal status. This includes a maximum of 200,000 guest visas annually and $40 billion put towards border enforcement measures for the next decade. Unfortunately, however, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act did not pass in the House of Representatives and since then no more bills have been pushed through legislation.

Well at this point you may be wondering why that matters now almost a year later…

Recently there have been whisperings of another attempt at immigration reform in Congress. This is happening at a very interesting time as well because it may be one of the last windows of opportunity for any immigration reform to take place. Since the deadline to file for primary candidacy has passed Democrats are now hoping that some Republicans will now feel comfortable enough to vote for immigration reform.

Previously, some Republicans who were on the fence about their support of immigration reform may not have felt comfortable supporting the reform out of fear of losing their party’s support for elections. Now that the deadline has passed they have had time to gauge if their support on immigration reform will be reacted to negatively within their party.
We, as young people, are the generation of doers. We not only ask for change, we affect change. So, if you would like to voice your opinion or you would like to encourage Congress on making progress with immigration reform you should contact your representative in the Senate and House and let them know what you think should happen with immigration reform. We can make a difference.


#IMPACTYourState: Know Your Candidates

July 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

By: Brianna Owens

It’s that time again — it’s primary election season, and midterm election time (November 4, 2014) is fast approaching. Do you see the signs in the front yards, the supporters at the street lights? Now is the time for you to think about the prevalent issues in your community and support the candidate(s) you think will work to provide solutions to those issues.

According to, only about 40 percent of registered voters in the United States participate in midterm elections; many believe that it doesn’t have the “hype” factor or the competitiveness that presidential elections have. If this is your opinion, I still want to encourage you to educate yourself and your community on the candidates that want to represent you in elected office. Just as your voice matters, your vote matters.

With that in mind, IMPACT launched the #VoteReady campaign on August 15, 2012, in an effort to not only highlight the importance of voting, but also inform minority and youth populations about the current Voter ID laws and how they can register to vote.

Over the last two years, IMPACT’s goal has been to register eligible voters 40 and under; re-register members of the 40 and under community to vote; encourage those who are able to vote early (where applicable); encourage those who are unable to physically go to the polls to submit an absentee ballot; inform voters about Voter ID laws (where applicable); and utilize social media and other avenues to build awareness and educate voters.

During this pivotal time, it is important to note that whichever political party controls the Senate or House will support policies that will affect their constituents; as my former government teacher told me, “If ever in doubt about which candidate to support, GO WITH YOUR POLITICAL PARTY.” If you really can’t choose a candidate after having done your research on where they stand on certain issues, I suggest going with this advice; in all cases, JUST VOTE.

Are you keeping up with national election news? If not, here are some of the relevant issues:

● Democrats are fighting to maintain control of the Senate while the GOP is fighting to take it.
● Majority leader of the House, Eric Cantor, loses to challenger, Dave Brat. According to the Washington Examiner, “many Republicans believe it was because he played both sides of the street on the issue of immigration.”
● Now, the new Majority Leader is Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
● Charles and David Koch spearheaded a “super” PAC called Freedom Partners Action Fund, which is meant to “support candidates who share our vision of free markets and a free society and oppose candidates who support intrusive government policies that push the American Dream out of reach for the American people”, says Marc Short.
● Mayoral candidates David Catania and Muriel Bowser are battling it out when it comes to D.C.’s public schools.
● Currently, Maryland is experiencing a major shift in their status quo; one of their candidates, Heather Mizeur is running and, if elected would be the “first female governor and the first openly gay person elected governor of any state.”
● “Black voters in the South could be key to victories for incumbent senators trying to hold on to their seats in Mississippi and Louisiana, political experts say.”

What is your stance on these issues? Is education a major problem in your state? How do you feel about immigration? These are all things you need to think about when voting for candidates to represent you; see how closely their opinions on certain issues align with yours.

For more information about the #Voteready campaign, please take a look at our voter toolkit at

Getting Past the Gibberish – ObamaCare Updates Translated

July 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

By India Graden

In the context of healthcare and the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “ObamaCare”), there are certain terms that make the average person’s eyes glaze over and focus immediately wane. Words like “risk corridor” and “reinsurance.” What do they actually mean? With the constant bickering between Democrats and Republicans over the overall efficacy of the program and how to best implement the scheduled changes, it’s hard to read through the language and understand what the government actually wants our citizens to do.
Risk corridors, risk adjustment, and reinsurance are all just words used to describe the government’s plan of lowering the economic impact of insuring the nation. Reinsurance offers funding to insurance companies that deal with high costs for certain enrollees (those who may be considered “higher risk), while risk corridors limit the amount of losses and gains that insurance providers can experience and transfers funds from low risk plans to high risk plans (to even the playing field).
The latest news in the ObamaCare arguments is that House Republicans are saying the often debated risk corridor system is not a big deal – but only because of the overall risk of ObamaCare as a whole. The risk corridor system is set to expire in 2016, however the conversation brings up a much more troubling conversation of what is significant to the national healthcare budget. Why is such a large amount (literally billions of dollars) being spent on a temporary system not deemed as significant?
The answer is because the overall program is so large. The mindset of many House majority members is that the risk corridor payout budget (2 trillion dollars over the next 10 years) is not a problem because the overall ObamaCare strain on tax dollars is already so huge. This mentality is a problem because anything that puts a larger strain on the taxpayer places even more animosity amongst those citizens opposed to ObamaCare in the first place. This loops into a larger discussion on lack of understanding and opposition to public insurance amongst the nation. The first step toward fixing the clear problems with the Affordable Care Act is to make sure the risk corridors and reinsurance programs are actually budget neutral.

June 11, 2014 | By | 2 Comments


By: Brianna Owens, IMPACT Intern

An African Proverb states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” This is the motive behind networking, which I believe to be the key to advancing oneself in your given profession. It involves building professional relationships with others that may not have had the opportunity to connect with otherwise. The goal for most networkers is to connect with people who have achieved the what they are trying to achieve in their respective careers.

Recently, IMPACT hosted its annual IMPACT Interns of Color Networking Reception, which allowed interns from various offices and organizations to encounter many people with different occupations and interests. Attendees had the opportunity to network and pursue relationships with a plethora of young professionals in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

Keep in mind that networking is a skill, and, like any skill, it comes easier to some than others. If this, or any other, networking opportunity did not go so well for you, no worries! I am here to help. Here is a checklist that will help guide you and ensure that you make connections before the networking event is over:

1. Are you dressed accordingly? Dress the part. Do not arrive in jeans if the invitation says the attire is “business casual.”
2. Do you have any goals in mind? In order for networking to aid you in reaching your goals, you must know what they are so you can convey that to others.
3. Do you have common work-related questions to spark conversation? The questions can be random; you would be surprised at how simple questions can launch a conversation. However, you should always start with an introduction followed by the question “What is your name?”
4. Are you prepared for any and every question? Rehearse your elevator pitch. You need to be able to sell yourself. Your pitch need not be long-winded; it needs to be an attention-grabber.
5. Have you planned to arrive on time? It is hard to convince someone of your work ethic when you come into an event 15 minutes late. That is a no-no.
6. Are you showing those beautiful teeth? Most of us are naturally friendly and have friendly faces, but for those of us on the more nonchalant side, SMILE. No one wants to approach someone who does not look approachable.
7. Are you on the playing field? Networking guru, Dr. Ivan Misner said, “Be visible. Networking is a contact sport! You have to get out and connect with people.” The Interns of Color Reception had many people in attendance; most of them were standing, walking around, and actively conversing with others. In situations like this one, you need to put yourself in the mix; do not sit on the sideline tweeting, texting, or posting videos on Instagram while networks are right in front of you!
8. Have you thought about how you can help another person as opposed to what others can do for you? Networking is not all about what you want. When establishing a relationship, think of what the other person wants. Any good relationship is a two-way street; do not just ask, but also offer.
9. Are you being genuine? DO NOT pretend to listen to what the other person is saying, say you are going to do something and not deliver, or pretend to be someone you are not. If you know you cannot commit to something, do not say otherwise. You might think it makes you look bad to tell someone “No” for whatever reason, but it makes you look worse to say, “Yes” and not deliver.
10. Did you get the digits (or letters if it’s an email)? Get contact information. Ask that person for an email or phone number; you want to be able to get in contact with them after that night. Let them know that you will be in contact with them in the near future. DO NOT WAIT A YEAR BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY DO IT!

If you have followed all the tips, I’m sure your night was successful. Congratulations on your new connections! Now, here’s how to keep them:

● Follow-up. This is the age of technology, so you can do this by email or social network if you must, but do not underestimate the power of a phone call. Remind the person of who you are, briefly recap what was talked about, and let the conversation flow from there.

● Maintain the connection. Networking is useless if you allow the people you connect with to forget who you are.

● Attend more networking events. Networking requires consistency; you never stop working toward establishing connections.

● Practice. The more you do something, the better you get at it. Networking is a skill that you have to constantly work at before it becomes second nature to you. Keep in mind, however, that you can never be too good at something, so your work is never done.


June 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Experience at 2014 IMPACT Summer Intern Networking Reception 

By: Wesley Dixon, Institute for Responsible Citizenship

The prevailing cultural narrative posits that young black persons are ambivalent about their futures and approach their professional lives with apathy and an air of nonchalantness — the IMPACT Annual Interns of Color Networking event turned this notion upside down. I walked into Jin Lounge last Wednesday, June 4, 2014 to see a room full of beautiful young people of color who were excited to fellowship with one another and share stories of their passions, successes, and aspirations.

Not only did I meet a slew of new young professionals at the networking event, but I also was able to reconnect with people who I have met in other spaces but have not seen or spoken to in a considerable amount of time. Specifically, one of the first people I ran into after walking through the threshold at Jin was my friend Rose who I met last summer and bonded with over our shared interest in HIV/AIDS advocacy. This is where I find the real power of IMPACT’s Annual Interns of Color Networking event: as opposed to simply viewing the room as one full of robotic business card dispensers, I saw the room as a space where I could form both professional coalitions organized around a ubiquitous desire to affect positive change, and uplifting friendship networks that extend beyond the walls of Jin and beyond the purview of our professional pursuits.

The notion of “networking” is one that is part and parcel of living and working in Washington, D.C., and while some may view networking events in general as just opportunities for attendees to bathe in their narcissism, I found IMPACT’s Annual Interns of Color Networking event to be one full of genuine relationship building, and one that served as a reminder that we must continue to work together to uphold IMPACT’s mission of political involvement, civic engagement, and economic empowerment.

March 27, 2014 | By | No Comments


 Registration is closed for this event


IMPACT and the Washington Government Relations Group are collaborating to establish a pipeline bringing more professionals of color to Capitol Hill and into the private sector. Whether the path is the House, the Senate or navigating the corporate maze. 

Our panel will discuss:

  Getting to the Hill

  Being a good staffer

  Moving to the Private Sector

March 25th, 2014 6:00 PM   through   7:30 PM
2456 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
United States

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Help spread the word

Please help us and let your friends, colleagues and followers know about our page: IMPACT & WGRG: Building the Pipeline

You can also share the below link in an email or on your website.

02 Mar


No Comments

Hello world!

March 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

03 Feb



February 3, 2014 | By |


Congratulations to our February 2014 IMPACT Leader of the Month, Zerlina Maxwell!

Zerlina Maxwell is a political analyst and contributing writer for The New York Daily News,,,, and  She writes about national politics, candidates, and specific policy and culture issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, victim blaming and gender inequality. She has consulted with the United States Department of State to promote the use of social media by students in the West Bank.  She’s also been featured in the New York Times as a political twitter voice to follow during the last election season.

Her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, JET Magazine, on and other mainstream media outlets.  She is also a weekly guest and fill in host for Make It Plain with Mark Thompson on Sirius XM Progress and democratic commentator on Fox News and MSNBC.  She has a J.D. from Rutgers Law School – Newark and a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University.

INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Zerlina Maxwell

Tell us a day in the life of Zerlina. 

I wake up and check my Twitter and feedly for breaking news. Then I get organized and prep for any upcoming television or radio appearances.  Recently, my days have been quite busy with segments at MSNBC or Fox News; therefore, I work around these segments to get my writing done.  I’m a regular contributor to a bevy of sites, so I usually have at least one article to submit and post everyday.  As a freelance writer and contributor, every day is different for me.  A few times a month, I’m on the road doing speaking engagements on rape culture and feminism at colleges and universities. At times it can be hectic, but I feel incredibly grateful to make a living in politics. Honestly, I would be obsessively following it even if it wasn’t my daily job!

What inspired you to become a feminist?

I think that I’ve always been a feminist. However, I didn’t claim the label until my 20’s.  My mother is very outspoken and I grew up with a father who encouraged me to be assertive and to speak my mind. Throughout high school and most of college, I thought feminism was a theory mainly for white women. It really wasn’t until I started paying attention and educating myself more, that I realized that it was for me too.  Sometimes, I think that my progressive politics was just inherent. I joke all the time about debating my father in 1988, when I was 7 years old, insisting that he vote for Michael Dukakis instead of George H. W. Bush.  No one told me that Dukakis was better but I was adamant.  I think that feminist values or progressive values was always in my genes.

What is the key to balancing your professional, philanthropic and social commitments?

A to-do list.  A few years ago, I was juggling a full time job and law school, in which I was completely overwhelmed.  I made my personal development, a priority and read about how to overcome procrastination and how to plan out my goals.  Learning to plan out my goals weekly, monthly, and annually allowed me to do more in every area.  I think the only way to stay balanced, is to stay organized.

What is the biggest mistake young professionals make, especially when pursuing a new professional venture?

In my opinion, too many people avoid networking and working their networks.  And I don’t necessarily mean going to receptions or happy hours.  Those things are helpful but conferences, panels, book release parties, political fundraisers, etc. are all great alternatives depending on what one wants to do.  It’s about coming into contact with people frequently and building those relationships over time.  I also think that people overlook social media as a networking tool.  I’m a journalist and when I first began writing on a professional level, one of my main strategies online was to organize my feed into lists of writers and editors of influence. Soon after interacting with these people for a while, they started asking me to write for them. Social networking is such an integral part of communication these days. I’m always surprised when I meet someone who isn’t on Twitter and/or Facebook.  And truth be told, Instagram is actually the fastest growing network right now and is amazing for professional and personal branding.

What advice would you give other young professionals who desire to become involved with issues such as feminism, journalism, law, and politics?

Step 1: Join twitter.  Twitter gets a bad rap as a waste of time but it’s so easy to use as a tool to break into any field.  Online feminism is a decade old and many of the most important conversations in progressive politics and gender that are happening right now, are on twitter.

What’s been the best experience of your career thus far (or the most rewarding)?

It’s always rewarding when I give a talk about rape culture – framed around engaging men in the rape prevention conversation – and a student comes up to me afterwards to say that they never thought about the issue in this way and that my presentation was clear and straightforward.  I am a firm believer in meeting people where they are and I know an issue like rape culture is difficult to talk about.  I’m really grateful for the platform to talk about such an important issue. An issue that has impacted me personally, in order to hopefully make the world just a little bit safer.

What’s next for you in your career? 

I’m going to continue writing, speaking, doing political consultant work, as well as working in television.  I’m really having a good time and feel really lucky to have made politics my job; since I live and breath it

Lastly, give me three words to sum up Zerlina Maxwell. 

Driven, Honest, Fearless

What is your Twitter handle?

Twitter: @ZerlinaMaxwell



22 Jan


State of the Union 2014

January 22, 2014 | By |