As Biden Cancels Corinthian Students’ Debt, They Urge Cancellation for All

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it will erase $5.8 Billion in federal loan debt owed by half a Million borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian Colleges was a for profit education company that was defrauded by students across the nation in 2015.

The victory of an estimated 560,000 borrowers is the result seven years of tireless campaigning by the Corinthian 15 – a group of debtors that teamed up in 2015. refused to pay off their loans as a protest against the federal government’s inaction — and, in the case of the Trump administration, brazen effortsTo block the path to relief.

The 15 former Corinthian students, some of whom were saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and worthless degrees, joined forces with the Debt Collective, the nation’s first debtors’ union, to pursue justice for thousands of defrauded students. Their efforts led to a nationwide debt cancellation movement that spanned three administrations. The American Prospect’s David Dayen explains in a detailed account of the Corinthian 15’s work.

“It was these students who started to remake the world,” Thomas Gokey, a founder of the Debt Collective, saidThe Corinthian 15. “The strike and the continued organizing has achieved a lot more than people gave us credit for, and we’re just getting started.”

The Education Department offers loan forgiveness announcedWednesday’s automatic discharge will take effect. Indebted former Corinthian student debtors will soon receive a letter informing them that their balance has been eliminated. The department said the move represents the “largest single loan discharge” in its history.

“As of today, every student deceived, defrauded, and driven into debt by Corinthian Colleges can rest assured that the Biden-Harris administration has their back and will discharge their federal student loans,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

“For far too long,” he added, “Corinthian engaged in the wholesale financial exploitation of students, misleading them into taking on more and more debt to pay for promises they would never keep.”

While hailing the department’s decision as a major victory, former Corinthian students and the Debt Collective made clear that they have no plans to stop pushing the Biden administration to cancel all outstanding federal student loan debt, which currently stands at around $1.7 trillion.

“We weren’t just fighting for Corinthian. We’re fighting for everybody,” saidLatonya, one of the original Corinthian 15. “There’s one victory down and a lot more to go.”

Ann Bowers, another Corinthian 15 member, told The American Prospect that “we’re looking for more.”

“I was taught when I was a child, education is the shortest route to success,” Bowers added. “This doesn’t feel like success!”

Astra Taylor (a writer and documentary filmmaker who helped to found the Debt Collective) echoed these sentiments on twitter:

Last week, Washington PostAccording to reports, the Biden administration plans to unilaterally cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt per borrower. This is far from the total cancellation that the Debt Collective or others demand.

According to the Education Data InitiativeThe average federal student loan balance is just over $37,000

“Fifteen students formed a debtors union started a debt strike, now 560,000 will be getting 100% of their federal student loans canceled,” the Debt Collective wroteIn a social media post on Wednesday night. “You deserve a union too. We can cancel $1.7 trillion for 45,000,000 people if we all strike together. Debtors have power.”