APS News

Congressional Office Staffers React Favorably to PROSPER Petition

Student signatures gain attention on Capitol Hill

July 24, 2018 | Tawanda W. Johnson

An APS-coordinated petition stressing the negative impact that the U.S. House of Representatives PROSPER Act would have on student loan debt has received a positive response from congressional offices in Tennessee and Washington. About 1,300 students and members of the science community signed the document.


PROSPER petition photo 1
Office of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray

Kate Baumgartner and Shua Sanchez delivered the PROSPER petition to the office of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in Washington state.

PROSPER petition photo 2
Evann Freeman

Left to right: XJ Xu, Savanna Starko, and Brooks Musangu (physics students) pose with Evann Freeman, a staffer in the office of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in Tennessee.


Shua Sanchez, a physics Ph.D. student at the University of Washington, delivered the petition to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s office.

“The staffer was sympathetic and supportive,” concerning the detrimental effect that PROSPER would have on the lives of undergraduate and graduate students, said Sanchez.

“The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act would create more anxiety and limit opportunities for students by decreasing the quality and accessibility of student loans, which are vital in this era of high tuition costs,” wrote Sanchez in an op-ed that he developed with support from the APS Office of Government Affairs.

In Tennessee, one physics undergraduate and two physics graduate students from Vanderbilt University — XJ Xu, Brooks Musangu and Savanna Starko — also received a favorable response from a staffer representing U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. Starko said the staffer was “very receptive” to the issue and their personal stories.

“Thank you for listening to us and making us feel heard,” Starko wrote in a thank-you note to the staffer. “In my mind, those are two very different things, and making somebody feel heard is a lost art. You, though, have mastered that art.”

Senators Alexander and Murray were the focus of the petition since the Senate still has yet to write its version of the bill.

The author is APS Press Secretary.

Gray Arrow Read more about the PROSPER petition in the July 2018 APS News.

News Update Archive

View Archive


APS News

Read Current Issue


Recent News Update
Joan Feynman 1927–2020
Joan Feynman, an astrophysicist known for her discovery of the origin of auroras, died on July 21. She was 93.
APS Board Approves New Statements on Racism, New START Treaty, and Nuclear Testing
At its virtual meeting near the end of July, the APS Board of Directors approved three new Board Statements.
2020 APS Fall Prize & Award Recipients
APS announces its 2020 Fall Prizes and Awards in fluid dynamics, nuclear physics, and plasma physics.
ICE Reverses Directive on International Student Visas
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded its July 6 Directive that would have forced international students to leave the country if their campus offered online-only classes this fall due to the ongoing pandemic.
APS Files Amicus Brief Opposing ICE’s July 6 Directive on International Student Visas
APS and 16 other scientific societies, including AIP, AAAS, and The Optical Society, have formally pledged their support for the lawsuit brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to block US Immigration and Customs Enforcement from canceling visas of international students unable to take in-person classes because of the pandemic.
APS and Max Planck Society Partner on “Read and Publish” Open Access Pilot
On July 7, APS announced a new aspect of its partnership with the Max Planck Society (MPG) in Germany allowing open access publication of research papers in APS journals at no direct cost to MPG researchers.