Supporters believe that a massive movement of defaulting student loans is necessary to change the higher education system because we have already seen progress as a result of smaller scale movements.
The predicaments in which some debtors find themselves in have nothing to do with their “lack” of moral duty, but they simply cannot afford to pay off their loans no matter what they do. Student loan debts are the hardest type of loans to get rid off because you are not allowed to file for bankruptcy. They are also very difficult to pay off if you are in a modest economic state. It is exactly for this reason that many debtors a year make the decision to individually default on their student loans. Without any other options what is a person to do?
Recently it was found that students who were enrolled in colleges under the control of Corinthian Colleges Incorporation were mislead in their academic guidances. This then lead to students taking out loans for careers that would not turn out to be prosperous even though they had been told otherwise.
This resulted in a large movement by The Debt Collective “a new membership organization that leverages collective power by offering debtors a shared platform for organization, advocacy, and direct action. Alone, our debts are a burden; together, they make us powerful.”
As originally planned the group wanted to find one million student with high debt to come together and simultaneously default on their student loans. They believed a move like this would pressure those in charge to make a movement to better our higher education system.
In the end they were not able to find one million willing to participate even though one million debtors ended up defaulting that year individually.
In light of the Corinthians students case, they instead gathered a moderately sized group of students who then refused to pay off their loans. They started off with, “Corinthian because they met all the requirements for a group of debtors who could see it was in their interest to act collectively.”
With the pressure this then presented to those in charge, the Corinthian students were relieved of their debt, an act “that wouldn’t have happened without the pressure from this debt strike.”
As well as being forgiven of their debt, this movement also made it so that The Department of Education develop a new program that lets students “cap their monthly payments at 10 percent of discretionary income” and “Any debt remaining will be forgiven after 20 years”.
If a small group of students were able to make a change in the education system, an even bigger group would be able to make a massive political movement. This could then result in an overhaul of the whole economic structure of our higher education system. Much like statistics, when you want to find the probability of an event occurring in a large amount, you take a small sample out of the whole population.
This small movement, in its effectiveness, is proof of what could happen if students as a whole gathered together and defaulted all at once. The system would have no choice but to fall into the pressure and make a change.