Although Prock finally has the degree,
the only potential job the college helped her find was a janitorial position...
This morning the Debt Collective announced that a hundred more students and former students have joined a Debt Strike, creating the Corinthian 100.
A month ago the Debt Collective, the brainchild of Strike Debt, itself an offshoot of Occupy, organized the Corinthian 15 - a group of students who went to a cheating, lying, and now bankrupt for-profit university and were willing to announce publicly that they were refusing to pay their student loans. The announcement garnered national and even international attention.
The Corinthian "debt strike" ... has expanded from 15 to 100 former students... The strike is part of a broader effort to pressure the government into forgiving the debt of former students of the controversial college chain, which is in the process of shutting itself down in the wake of lawsuits and investigations. The strike has gained supporters in Washington and nationally, with several prominent legislators criticizing the Education Department for bailing out the struggling for-profit college operator last summer, but continuing to hold students on the hook for their loans.
Representatives from the Corinthian students, along with organizers from the Debt Collective, have been invited to talk to an official from the Department of Education at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, March 31st) between people from the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and the Department of Education. DoE has so far refused to do anything about Federal loans Corinthian students obtained after being told fraudulent claims on Corinthian's part.
Protesters representing about 100 current and former Corinthian students are meeting on Tuesday with officials with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as well as the DOE. Though the financial watchdog agency lacks direct regulatory authority over the DOE, it has expressed general concern about unjust financial practices that have fueled the for-profit college model.
CFPB's student loan ombudsperson Rohit Chopra has written to the strikers, stating that the CFPB would like to discuss potential "ways to address the burden of their student loans."
The Debt Collective has initiated another tactic against Corinthian: a legal manuever called Defense to Repayment. This involves asserting fraudulent representations on the part of Corinthian representatives as they convinced people to sign up and take on student loans, legally rendering the debt so incurred dischargable without payment. Tomorrow (March 31st) they will be sending hundreds of Debt to Repayment demand letters to the appropriate state officials on behalf of Corinthian students and former students, some debt strikers, others not.
Under a little-known regulation called the Defense of Repayment law, students are eligible for a full discharge on their loans and refund of money paid if the schools they attended have violated state consumer protection laws. To date, 300 people have filed Defense of Repayment forms under the Debt Collective banner, which will be turned into the Department of Education in advance of the strikers’ meeting on Tuesday. The department will have 30 days to respond.
Those exploited by Corinthian's tactics (attendees of Everest, Heald and Wytech colleges) can fill out a form to create a Defense to Repayment letter
courtesy of the Debt Collective.
These are tactics in an overarching battle against all student debt, and even more generally, against all unjust debts.
The central principle is that if you want to pursue a higher education, you should owe nothing to anyone. The education-debt crisis reflects the financialization of the education system - whether through usurious for-profit institutions, or high-risk private student loans that finance both public and private schools, or the student loan industry in general. The push to marketize college not only drains resources from public institutions and core instructional programs, but also potentially hampers long-term social mobility for lower-income students.
Strike Debt has calculated how costly it would be to make all higher public education free
(answer: almost nothing per year, when looked at as a fraction - 0.3 percent - of the Federal budget).
Many countries have made their higher education free. Student debt in the United States has reached epic proportions, and it is both ridiculous as a concept and a drag on the economy.
It should be abolished, and the first step in doing so is fighting back. May the Corinthian 100 grow into the Debt Strike 1,000,000!