The U.S.'s first ever student debt strike is making a big impact already.
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One of the things keeping me busy lately is helping the Debt Collective and its work organizing over 100 former and current Corinthian College students into a federal student debt strike.

The Corinthian 100 are students who are striking their federal student loans from the predatory, for-profit Corinthian Colleges, Inc. Corinthian collapsed last year under the weight of over 200 individual lawsuits, including those from state Attorneys General (including California and Massachusetts), and one from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Students describe all manner of abuses, from being lied to about job placement, being admitted to College even if they didn't have a high school diploma, to being pulled out of finals to be pressured into handing over their financial aid pin numbers.

On March 31st, 14 strikers and Debt Collective organizers met with Undersecretary Ted Mitchell, the No. 3 official at the Department of Education, at a meeting hosted by the CFPB: 

  • At that meeting, strikers told their stories, and requested an erasure of all Corinthian debt. Ted Mitchell promised that he'd have a response within 30 days.
  • At the same meeting, we submitted 257 individual defense to repayment applications. Defense to repayment is a legal theory that says debts must be erased if the students' school broke state law--which according to at least two State AG offices, they absolutely did.

We spent much of the $ we previously raised bringing 14 strikers to D.C. We need additional funds to bring the strikers back to D.C. in 30 days for another meeting with the Department of Education. Please donate here

The Debt Collective isn't alone in demanding that Corinthian debt be erased: Rep. Maxine Waters called for that in a July letter, and also endorsed the strike. A group of 13 Senators like by Elizabeth Warren sent a letter in December asking for a debt erasure and for clarity on defense to repayment. And the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy has also called on the Department to forgive Corinthian debt. 

The effort has generated a lot of press coverage. Here's some of my favorite:

  • MSNBC's Melissa-Harris Perry, 3/28/2015 (featuring an interview with Ohio striker Latonya Suggs)
  • NPR, 3/31/2015, "Activists Stop Paying Their Student Loans"
  • Bloomberg, 3/31/2015, "These Students Could Get the Government to Kill Their Loans"
  • Politico, Morning Education, 3/30/2015 and 4/1/2015, "CFPB hears higher ed concerns" and "Student debt strikers speak"
  • two AP stories, "Loan recipients on 'strike' meet with federal officials"
  • Huffington Post, 3/30/2015, "'Corinthian 15' Becomes 'Corinthian 100' As Federal Student Debt Strike Grows"
  • The Washington Post, 4/1/2015, "The student debt revolt just might work"
  • Think Progress, 4/1/2015, "Inside The Historic Meeting Between Student Debt Strikers And Their Government Antagonists"
  • CBS This Morning, 4/1/2015 (this CBS segment was a favorite of mine)
  • Huffington Post blog from a legal aid attorney Eileen Connor, who helped us with the DTR template, 4/2/2015, "Student Loan Victims Pay the Price of ED Inaction"
  • Student Loan Borrower Assistance, 4/3/2015, "Hope for Corinthian Students – Department of Education Agrees to Consider Granting Student Debt Relief"
The Debt Collective is comprised entirely of volunteers. Many strikers are single mothers. We need to raise additional funds to pay for future travel and child care. If you can, please help.
Further Reading:

"Hey, At Least We're Not the Mafia!"

I wrote about the ways payday lending companies lobby Congress, buy off their critics, and pretend that they charge lower rates than the mafia...even though it looks like in many cases, they don't!

The Biggest Outrage in Atlanta’s Crazy Teacher Cheating Case

David Dayen pointed out the hypocrisy and injustice of sending some Atlanta teachers to jail over their cheating scandal on standardized tests, while the bankers that oversaw massive mortgage fraud got off with a slap on the wrist. 

As the trial of the century comes to a close, we are left with few answers to nagging questions about the FBI and the Tsarnaevs

Kade Crockford on US v. Tsarnaev.

Chelsea Manning is now on Twitter
Copyright © 2015 Alexis Goldstein, All rights reserved.

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