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Pledge of Refusal to Pay Student Loans – More Information

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post on NYU Professor Andrew Ross’s idea for a Pledge of Refusal to Pay Student Loans – the goal being for signers to stop paying once the petition got one million signatures.  I’ve had an average number of hits on the post since then, until today, when I woke up and found that it was, by far, my most popular post today with a lot of people finding it because they were directly searching for the Pledge.

To my knowledge, the Pledge is still in the works, but I did a little research, and found another blog post over at A Post-Academic in NYC on the topic, written the same day as mine, that provides more information.  Here are some interesting points from that post, but I’d encourage you to take a look at it yourself as well:

Here are a few things to know about the pledge:

  • Signing a pledge is not legally binding. The goal is to raise the issue of education as a human right.
  • People cannot default on their loans individually without serious consequences. But we have strength in numbers to change the conversation about debt.
  • Many of us are on the hook for so many bazillions of dollars that we’re going to be paying until we’re dead anyway, so why not sign? It can only help us.
  • We need to keep our eyes on the prize, which is federally-funded higher ed. We have to keep in mind that we are not asking for a lot. I read the other day that Bank of America has $53 trillion dollars (that’s “trillion” with a “T”) tied up in those nasty derivatives, which even the bank knows is a time bomb waiting to go off. So spending a few billion for college is like pocket change by comparison.
  • The pledge would also include an option for people to sign who are not indebted but who want to support those who are. Anyone working in higher education today is implicated in the growing indebtedness of American students, for example. Parents might also want to sign.
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A Pledge of Refusal to Pay Student Loans

November 3, 2011 5 comments

Now this is an interesting idea.  NYU Professor Andrew Ross is advocating that student loan debtors band together and sign “A Pledge of Refusal” in which they would agree to collectively stop paying on their student loans once the pledge reached the 1 million signatures mark.  According to Ross:

…while individuals are subject to heavy financial penalties if they stop paying on their student loans, a mass action by 1 million would make the banks take notice.

“There is a lot of talk about student debt, but no one takes any action, and that’s what Occupy Wall Street is about,” the professor of social and cultural analysis said.

I found this by chance but had just been thinking something similar myself.  As far as I know, this is a fairly new idea, and I’ve yet to see an actual petition online.  Not sure I’d sign it myself as I am currently in a position where I can make my payments every month, even if making them means living in a hovel in a bad neighborhood without a bed.  Additionally, I am licensed to practice law, and, even though I don’t actually do that for a living, I’d be a little afraid of being disbarred. But for people out there who are already in danger of defaulting – heck, what do they have to lose? 

I’ll keep you all posted if/when this thing develops more momentum.