Hasan Minhaj may be a comedian but when he started speaking on the student loan crisis, even the US government seems to have taken notice.
On Tuesday, Minhaj Tweeted, “You know the student loan crisis is bad when I’m asked to testify before Congress about it.”
In his five-minute statement before the House Financial Services Committee, the Netflix “Patriotic Act” host laid out how the record $1.6 trillion student loan debt is crushing 44 million borrowers.
“You don’t need to be drowning in debt to understand that this is an issue sidelining millions of Americans,” said Minhaj, 33. “People are putting off marriage, kids, homeownership and retirement,―especially my generation.”
He went viral in February for a ‘Patriot Act’ segment that laid out the confusion many parents and students face in navigating student loan repayment plans. He said that student debt was one of the most requested topics that fans of his show want to see covered.
In fact, when Minhaj polled his live studio audience of about 200 people during that February show, he found their collective student loan debt was more than $6 million — more expensive than the ‘Patriot Act’ set.
“Now granted, our audience is mainly unemployed poli-sci majors, but that’s still a lot of money,” he told the Congressional Committee.
“We even tell kids today, ‘Look, if you don’t go to college, you might as well get a face tattoo,’ ” Minhaj read out. “And then, they point to Post Malone, and we’re like, ‘OK! That’s one guy!’ ”
Minhaj went on to note that the members of the Financial Services Committee paid far less for college than the millennial generation. “We looked up where the 60 members of this committee went to college and what your school’s tuition was at that time, even adjusting for inflation, college costs way less across the board,” he said. “On average, this entire committee graduated from college 33 years ago and paid an inflation-adjusted tuition of $11,690 a year. Today, the average tuition at all of your same schools is almost $25,000. That’s a 110 percent increase over a period of time when wages have gone up only 16 percent. So people aren’t making more money, and college is objectively way more expensive. You see what’s happened? We’ve put up a paywall to the middle class.”
Like he had done on his show, Minhaj singled out predatory loan services like Navient. “Now look, we know the deck is stacked against student borrowers in ways that it wasn’t 10 or even 15 years ago, and they deserve some basic protections. Americans should not have to go bankrupt pursuing higher education, and they should never be preyed upon by underregulated loan-servicing companies. So, members of this committee, we know the government is capable of stepping in during a financial crisis, so really all I’m asking today is: Why can’t we treat our student borrowers the way we treat our banks? Because 44 million Americans — that is too big to fail.”
Check out his entire speech on student loan crisis right here:
You know the student loan crisis is bad when I'm asked to testify before Congress about it. pic.twitter.com/TTqylZZf8k
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) September 10, 2019