Past Events

Fall 2015:

Fall 2015 Student Debt Series Calendar

Is Free Higher Education Possible? Student Debt Activism Across the US

Wednesday, November 18 – 6-8pm

NYU Gallatin, 1 Washington Pl

The Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts*

With the total US student debt at $1.2 trillion and rising, students across the country are demanding affordable education as a right. The oldest and largest student organization in the country, the United States Students Association (USSA), recently launched a campaign for Free Higher Education that has sparked national action. From Obama’s free community college program to Bernie Sanders’ platform for free public universities, politicians are responding as students make their voices heard. In this panel event, the elected president of USSA will be joined by student activists from across the country to discuss the rising movement for college affordability. How did education come to be treated as a commodity rather than a public good? How are race and class intertwined with access to education? Why is there a culture of silence around debt at NYU and how can we break it? What kind of a student movement is necessary to demand change? In a conversation between national and NYU activists, we ask “how far to free?”

Presented by the Gallatin Student Life and Debt Series and the Urban Democracy Lab

On The Road From Debt to Freedom: Lecture with Ken Ilgunas

Wednesday, Oct 28, 6:30-8pm

Gallatin, 1 Washington Pl

The Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts

The goal was as simple and straightforward: to get out of debt as fast as humanly possible. In his travel memoir, Walden on Wheels, Ken Ilgunas lays bare the existential crisis of graduating with thousands of dollars of debt. Guided by the frugality and philosophy of Thoreau, Ilgunas narrates his journey across the country and years spent living out of a van in a Duke University parking lot. In this Gallatin lecture series, Ilgunas will discuss his journey and what it can teach us about the cost of higher education today.

on the road from debt to freedom (3)

How to Retire at 30: Frugality and Financial Independence

Tuesday, October 6, 4:30-6pm

Gallatin, 5th Floor Student Lounge

Learn how popular bloggers The Frugalwoods are combining frugal living and financial smarts to pay down debt, save for the future, and retire, yes, at 30. Learn more at

Broke Millennial Flyer Fall 2015

Broke Millennial: The Magic Formula for Financial Success (Session One)

Wednesday, Sept 30 @ 6:30pm

Gallatin 5th Floor Student Lounge

Worried about how you’re going to pay your loans? Unsure how to manage your credit score? Whether you’re a new student or getting ready to graduate, taking control of your personal finances is a critical step to empowerment. Expert finance blogger Erin Lowry will lead a workshop about debt, spending intentionally, picking the best financial products, saving for retirement, and more. Learn more at


What's the deal with student debt-What’s the deal with student debt? An open discussion for students, faculty, and staff

Tuesday, Sept 22 @ 6:30pm

Gallatin 5th Floor Student Lounge

Why does the US have the highest rates of student debt in the world? How is debt affecting the everyday lives of NYU students? What can be done on campus to address student debt? Join us in viewing “Default,” a short film that chronicles the stories of borrowers affected by the student lending industry and their struggles to change the system. Followed by an open discussion to share concern, stories, knowledge, and information around avoiding and overcoming student debt.

Spring 2015:

 studentlifeanddebt (1)

history and culture of debt flyerHistory and Culture of Debt

Wednesday, April 22


Gallatin (1 Washington Pl) 5th floor student lounge

A panel discussion on how educators, policymakers, and bankers created a generation of indentured students, and how students and their families are affected.

Caitlin Zaloom, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU

Elizabeth Shermer, Professor of HistoryLoyola University Chicago

Max Cohen, Strike Debt 



Understanding Debt FlyerUnderstanding Your Debt: Workshop 

Wednesday, April 8


Gallatin (1 Washington Pl) 5th floor student lounge

From the basics of understanding money, credit and debt to understanding your NYU financial aid package, find out what you need to know to be a finance-savvy student.






Managing Your Debt POSTERManaging Your Debt: Loan Repayment Workshop

Tuesday, March 31
5:00 PM
Gallatin (1 Washington Pl), 5th Floor Student Lounge

Paying off your debt doesn’t have to be confusing or frustrating. Join the creators of “Out Loan” for an interactive workshop to understand repayment options and map your personal financial plan. Learn more at






FIRERetire at 30? Financial Independence and How to Get There 

Wednesday, March 11
Gallatin (1 Washington Pl), 5th Floor Student Lounge

Financial independence and retiring early (FIRE) is catching on among millenials.  Come meet and learn from popular bloggers The Frugalwoods and BrokeMillenial to learn how they are combining frugal living and financial smarts to pay down debt, save for the future, and retire, yes, at 30. Learn more at and



ivory_2 (1)Ivory Tower: Documentary Screening and Discussion with Activists
Tuesday, February 24
Gallatin (1 Washington Pl), 5th Floor Student Lounge
As tuition rates spiral beyond reach and student loan debt passes $1 trillion (more than credit card debt), the documentary Ivory Tower asks: Is college worth the cost? Through profiles at Arizona State, Cooper Union, and San Jose State, the film reveals how colleges in the United States, long regarded as leaders in higher education, came to embrace a business model that often promotes expansion over quality learning.
Join us after the movie as we speak with activists featured in the film from Free Cooper Union, an organized effort to stop the 2011 proposed changes in the Cooper Union tuition policy.


Gallatin Coffeehouse on Student Debt
November 19, 6:30
Gallatin Student Lounge

Professors Paula Chakravartty, Robert Wosnitzer, Kim DaCosta and former Gallatin student Lucy Parks
How does affect the everyday lives of students in the Gallatin community? How is student debt connected to larger structural issues that shape the future of higher education? What can be done in Gallatin and on the NYU campus to address student debt? What do student activists have to say on this issue?