I've trudged through grad school accumulating debt, nothing terrible or anything, but enough to warrant scrimping to clear debts ere the graduation date. And my finances are certainly a lot healthier than those of many other grad students. The univ I'm at pays poorly even compared its peer institutions. But, it really doesn't have to be this way, there are big gains on offer for some collective effort.
Most PhDs take about 5+ years on average, efforts to improve on gen crappy conditions over the five years shouldn't be a hard sell. Yet, I find most of my fellow science grad students apathetic to rallying calls. We're not really rallying for anything particularly radical like ending US and Israeli imperialism or protesting neo-liberalism or anything, why would people not want halfway-decent wages, low fees and semi-respectable housing? This should be bloody obvious, or maybe I'm just not a particularly good organiser..