Francis “France” Ferreira ’25 reaches thousands through Inclusive America internship
As social media manager for Inclusive America, Claremont McKenna College history major Francis “France” Ferreira ’25 helped make a major impact for thousands with student loan debt.
During her internship, sponsored by the Kravis Lab for Social Impact, “she was key to launching a campaign we helped scale around the country regarding a unique waiver to make the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program more user-friendly,” said Inclusive America co-founder Mark Hanis.
When Ferreira came across the internship, she thought it was a good fit for her extensive social media experience. Then she looked into what nonprofit Inclusive America does and was eager to use those skills to make an impact. “I really like their mission and what they stand for,” she said. “It felt like the right thing to do.” She joined the team last summer — and has stayed on ever since.
“I knew that often people of color have more student loans and in higher amounts than their white counterparts, so I felt like this definitely was something that demanded some kind of response,” Ferreira said. “And that is exactly what PSLF did. We pushed to communities of color, as well as all communities, because we know that student loans are a universal problem.”
The waiver expired in October 2022, and numbers are still being analyzed. But Inclusive America — a bipartisan nonprofit focused on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in government — said that more than 236,000 borrowers have received over $14 billion in student debt forgiveness as a result of the PSLF.us Campaign, with which they partnered. Prior to this waiver, only 7,000 Americans had received forgiveness, Hanis said. He estimates that their PSLF Campaigns empowered more than 50,000 people to apply for $3 billion.
“I’m very proud of the work that we did,” Ferreira said. “We basically helped by telling people to sign up for webinars that guided them through the process, and we were a resource to them. It feels really good to look back at it, as I was part of a group that helped people get rid of some or all of their student loan debt.”
Sponsored off-campus internships are one of many ways, including experience in CMC institutes and student organizations, that the College delivers on its mission to prepare students for responsible leadership. And, indeed, Ferreira has found that her role at Inclusive America has helped her develop essential skills.
“Stepping up and continuing to take on a leadership role has helped me grow into a more flexible leader. It also made me a better team worker. Working with people from different backgrounds and organizations, I appreciated the experience and learning from other people on what I can do better but also sharing knowledge back and forth.”
Ferreira’s leadership roles on campus include being a mentor with the Chicano Latinx Student Association, serving on the class cabinet, and pursuing social justice as part of the CMC Social Life Working Group. “We work together with the Dean of Students office and ASCMC to help address issues regarding social life here at CMC and advocate for a more inclusive experience for everybody.” Ferreira is also a teaching assistant for Associate Professor of Government Michael Fortner, whose classes further exposed her to issues in race and politics as a first-year student.
One of the highlights of her CMC experience, said the Bronx, N.Y., native, is definitely the world-class faculty, especially in the history department. “They are so well-versed and knowledgeable about their areas of study. I like to go to the professors’ offices and talk about things that were brought up in class and have conversations where I’m learning and soaking up more information.”
The faculty have inspired her career goals as well. “I would love to be a professor. That would be ideal.”