More people are waking up to the power of collective action, thank God. These schools are law-breaking and predatory, and I'm happy to see students finally standing up to them. Via Al Jazeera:
The debt forgiveness movement born out of Occupy Wall Street has entered a new stage in its activism around student loans. On Monday, a wing of the campaign known as Debt Collective announced a “debt strike” by 15 former students of the for-profit college chain Corinthian Colleges Inc.
The former students have said they will not repay any more of their student loans, in protest of what they describe as predatory lending practices on the part of both Corinthian Colleges and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Organizers working with Debt Collective said the coordinated action was a test run for larger debt refusal actions.
Debt Collective organizer Ann Larson compared the action to work stoppages conducted by the labor movement.
“This is the same kind of collective organizing,” she told Al Jazeera. “Collective bargaining can happen along economic lines when debtors join together."
For their test case, Debt Collective selected a particularly ripe target: Corinthian Colleges has already been the subject of both state and federal investigations regarding its lending practices. Since June 2014 the company has been under tight financial supervision from the DOE, which is shepherding it through the process of selling off some of its campuses and shutting down others.
Ann Bowers, 54, one of the former Corinthian students who is refusing to pay down her loans, told Al Jazeera she owes between $30,000 and $40,000 after three years in the Everest College system, which is owned by Corinthian. She earned her associate degree at Everest and had completed her first year in on an online bachelor's degree program when she found out that her school's parent company was in trouble with the DOE.
"I asked them about transferring," said Bowers, who lives in Fort Myers, Florida. "I went through the process with one school, and they didn't accept all of my credits. And I found out Everest had taken six years of my lifetime funding [in federal loan eligibility] in three years. I was devastated."
Bowers, who is disabled, said she has been unemployed for the year since she left Everest.
"I feel like the students are the ones suffering the consequences for what Corinthian did," she said. "It's not fair. And why isn't the Department of Education helping us? It's helping a school that even lied to them."