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Campus marches over student debt held around the country

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Students at more than a hundred colleges and universities are staging marches in support of free tuition, a $15 minimum wage for campus workers and the cancellation of debt from student loans.

Known as the Million Student March, the demonstrations happening Thursday at schools from Massachusetts to Hawaii were inspired by remarks Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made in June.

The Democratic presidential candidate said Republicans in Congress would be forced to tackle the student debt problem if a million young people marched on Washington.

Most of the events were planned at public universities and colleges, although a few private colleges organized rallies to show support.

CBS Philadelphia reports that in Philly, students from Drexel, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple, the Community College of Philadelphia and area high schools were marching from their respective school to City Hall on Thursday.

CBS Sacramento reports that students at UC Davis have also joined the protest. They expected around 200 students to join in on Thursday.

As CBS News' Anthony Mason reported on Wednesday, according to a new study, the average student loan debt of $35,000 can cost graduates nearly $700,000 in lost retirement savings over a 50-year period.

If a 23-year-old earning the median salary, who has $35,000 in student debt, saves 6 percent they can expect to retire at 75. But increase that to 10 percent and the retirement age drops by five years.

The average student debt is now $5,500 higher than it was just three years ago. If that rise isn't somehow slowed, the student loan crisis will become a retirement crisis.

The marches targeting the cost of college were scheduled before student protests over racially charged incidents at the University of Missouri and Yale put a renewed national focus on how colleges are dealing with diversity.

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