Hagan focused on the student loans crisis during her speech, asking the audience how many of them had debt from loans — nearly everyone, including the professional reporters, raised their hands.
“What I’m focused on, obviously being in the U.S. Senate, is having a mechanism so that students can refinance those loans,” she said.
The total amount of student debt in the U.S. stands at $1.2 trillion. She said the state’s constitution claims higher education should be as free as possible, but with an average debt of $23,893 per student in the state, this is not reality.
Wilson Parker, president of UNC Young Democrats and director of state and external affairs for UNC Student Government, said the group was excited to have Hagan speak on campus.
Parker said her opponent, N.C. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, has supported $500 million in cuts to the state’s education budget — including tens of millions of dollars from the UNC system.
“Sen. Hagan has a long record, both at the federal level and when she was working in appropriations at the state level, of fighting for quality, affordable education,” he said.
Senior Nat Glynn said he supports Hagan for her consistent backing of education because it’s been a big issue for his hometown of Newton.
He also said foreign policy, specifically the Islamic State and the Ebola outbreak, were important issues for him.
“I don’t believe Tillis is able to conduct foreign policy,” Glynn said. “Kay has six years of experience in the Senate, which is a bigger stage for foreign policy.”