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Organization Wipes Out $10 Million In Loan Debt For Morehouse College Students

One activist organization has wiped out $10 million in loan debt for nearly 3,000 former Morehouse College students.

Morehouse College

According to USA Today, the Debt Collective, a debtor’s union, collaborated with the institution and the Rolling Jubilee Fund, a 501 (c) (3), “purchased the debt to provide relief for 2,777 former students of the Atlanta-based historically Black college for men.” The students owed $9,707,827.67, which stretched back decades, through the fall 2022 semester.

Just last year, the Debt Collective paid $1.7 million for unpaid student balances at Bennett College, which is a historically Black women’s liberal arts college in North Carolina.

For many former students, institutional loans can make it hard to kickstart a life following college. Some colleges refuse to release records for students who owe money. According to a 2021 Hechinger Report, 6.6 million students couldn’t access their transcripts due to debt, which disproportionately affects minority households.

“The financial burden prevents them from being able to move on with their lives,” the Debt Collective press secretary Braxton Brewington said. “Without transcripts, students can’t advance their education. It just sort of follows them.”

Still, the Morehouse clearance did not apply to federal student loans, which now owes more than $1.6 trillion nationally, as repayments of those loans resumed a few weeks ago after a years-long halt due to the pandemic. Instead, the Debt Collective wiped “money owed directly to the college, such as attendance loans, delinquent tuition, or even parking fees.”

Black students, according to The Grio, are less likely to come from a wealthy family, making them more than likely to incur educational debt. And according to statistics from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) research, students who attended HBCUs borrow at a much higher rate as opposed to their peers at other classifications of schools, which makes them three times as likely to borrow $40,000 or more.

The government has made efforts to provide aid through other measures: moving to clean up the public-service debt forgiveness and income-based repayment programs, freeing tens of thousands of borrowers from their debt.

But it’s all about pursuing changes to federal legislation that might relieve tens of thousands of more people. Despite Biden’s campaign pledges, the Education Department has recently stopped just short of announcing widespread cancellation.

“Debt has proven itself to be one of the strongest deterrents in a prospective student’s decision to attend college and inhibitors in alumni’s socioeconomic success post-graduation,” David A. Thomas, Morehouse’s president said, according to USA Today.

In 2019, Robert F. Smith, the country’s richest Black man, paid off student loans, which was a $34 million gift.


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