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Student Loan Debt: Where do we go from here?

6:00 PM CST 7:30 PM CST
Webinar via Zoom

Student Loan Debt: Where do we go from here?

6:00 PM CST 7:30 PM CST
Webinar via Zoom

Student loan debt. Those three words can cause a lot of anxiety and stress among Americans. Is there a need for government intervention? Is intervention justifiable when many have accomplished reducing or paying off their debt? In the United States, student loan debt totals to $1.70 trillion and grows 6 times faster than the economy. The pandemic has magnified this problem causing individuals to struggle with unemployment and loss of housing amidst trying to pay back their student loans. How should we go about handling this problem that just seems to grow bigger and bigger? Join American Public Square at Jewell’s Student Initiative on April 8th to hear from a panel of experts on different sides of this issue.

This program is a part of STUDENT MONTH at American Public Square at Jewell (APS) Starting April 6th and ending on April 29th, APS’s Student Initiative will be presenting FOUR programs exploring the cost of higher education in the United States. These programs are planned and executed by college and high school students in the Kansas City Metro featuring conversations with policy experts and those with lived experience in higher education, student debt, and college readiness. We’re celebrating Student Month by giving back to students! Students attending 2 or more programs will be eligible to win an Apple Watch. Students attending 1 program will be eligible for either a Door Dash or Quick Trip Gift Card!


Dr. Beth Vonnahme is Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMKC. Her research and teaching interests fall within the general categories of public opinion and political behavior. Specifically, her research explores the importance of psychological processes relating to political decision making. Her published work addresses outgroup attitudes, bias in political decision making, scandal, and the role of memory in driving political choices.

Preston Cooper is a Visiting Fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, where he studies the economics of higher education. Formerly, he worked at the American Enterprise Institute and the Manhattan Institute. He is a regular contributor to Forbes, and his writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, U.S. News and World Report, the Washington Examiner, Fortune, RealClearPolicy, and National Review.

Dr. Samantha Quinn is an assistant professor of communication and the undergraduate program coordinator for the department of communication at Park University. She teaches interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, communication theory, and research methods courses in both the undergraduate communication and master of arts in communication and leadership programs. Her research interests focus on interpersonal communication via technology (e.g. social media, text messaging, email, etc.) and the dark side of interpersonal communication (e.g. conflict, jealousy, difficult conversations, etc.). Her published work investigates jealousy and envy in small groups, motivations for gossiping via text message, and older adult use of communication technologies. Additionally, Dr. Quinn is the Chair-elect for the Undergraduate College and University section of the National Communication Association.

Scott MacDougall grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary in New York, but has called Kansas City home since 2003. Following college and graduate school, Scott has spent 17 years working in higher education; he has served as an Admissions Counselor, a Financial Aid Advisor, and for the last seven years as an Academic Advisor with the Kansas City Educational Opportunity Center, a Federally funded program administered by Metropolitan Community College that exists to facilitate college access to low-income, first generation, adult students.


Dan Cohen began his career at KSHB in April 2020. He stayed in the NBC family after more than six years at WREX-TV in Rockford, Illinois. He contributed to award-winning coverage in the news, weather, and sports departments, specializing in major events. He brought viewers to multiple election nights, tornado outbreaks, the World Series and Stanley Cup Final.

Dan is originally from New Jersey, and graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Sport Management.

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