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  • Age
    30
  • Title
    Program Director
  • Company
    Student Debt Crisis Center

Americans owe $1.7 trillion in student loan debt, and Cody Hounanian, executive director of the Los Angeles–based Student Debt Crisis Center, has been working to ease the pain. The pause on student loan payments arguably helped millions of Americans during the pandemic, but it also created a lot of confusion for borrowers. The center held online workshops for nearly 20,000 consumers last year and partnered with financial firm Savi on a tool to help borrowers enroll in federal student loan relief programs. Hounanian, a student loan borrower himself, has also led efforts to further national discussions around canceling student loan debt and advocate for state initiatives like the California Student Borrower Bill of Rights. “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned,” Hounanian told Fortune, “is that a few passionate advocates with a big list of supporters can really make a difference in Washington and across the country.”