Across the country Thursday, students will be walking out of classrooms as part of the "Million Student March." The demonstrations were planned as a protest against student loan debt, with students calling for not only tuition-free education at public colleges and forgiveness of student loans, but also for a $15 minimum wage for students who work on campus, Reuters reports. "Education should be free. The United States is the richest country in the world, yet students have to take on crippling debt in order to get a college education," the organizers say on the march's website. Reuters notes that US student loan debt currently sits at $1.2 trillion.
Thousands have pledged, via Facebook, to participate, and according to ThinkProgress, organizers say 110 college campuses will take part, with the largest marches expected in Santa Barbara (Calif.), New York City, Philadelphia, Portland (Ore.), and Seattle. One of the organizers notes that certain individual marches may add their own focuses, like better pay for adjunct professors. "There is a serious concentration of wealth right now in college campuses, and administrators are making exponentially more than the average worker on campus," she says. She adds that, eventually, organizers hope to fight not just for free tuition, but for zero fees, free textbooks, and free housing. (Bernie Sanders reportedly backs the march.)