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Posts Tagged ‘Pledge of Refusal to Pay Student Loans’

Pledge of Refusal to Pay Student Loans – Update II

November 21, 2011 1 comment

InsideHigherEd.com is reporting today that a group called Occupy Student Debt will announce a new movement – the Pledge of Refusal to Pay Student Loans.  I have discussed the Pledge previously here and here, but to recap, the basic idea is that once the Pledge has 1 million signatures, signees will stop paying their student loans.

The risk is great – not only will students face the ruined credit score that all loan defaulters face, but they will also face the possiblity of garnished wages, and they won’t be able to save themselves via bankruptcy.  But some debtors think its worth it:

Pamela Brown, a Ph.D. student in Sociology at the New School, has taken on debt for her graduate degree, although she hopes to go into public service and take advantage of a program that forgives borrowers’ loans after 10 years.  Her loans are currently deferred because she is still enrolled in college.  But if the need arises, she is willing to default in protest, she said.

“Even if the majority says, ‘Hey, that’s not for me.  I don’t want to take a risk like that,’ there are enough people, I think, out there who feel that their situation is dire enough to take that chance in an effort to change things,” said Brown, who is one of the organizers of Occupy Student Debt.  “For me, it’s an issue of justice.”

But Occupy Student Debt is not just about helping those who sign the Pledge.  The group’s other proposals include tuition-free colleges, interest-free private loans, public access to the financial books of private and for-profit institutions, and the writing-off of all current student loan debt. 

Even if the Pledge doesn’t succeed, this is a huge triumph for student loan debtors.  Finally, the issue of student loan debt is getting some serious media play and a serious movement dedicated to fixing the system.  I can’t wait to see what will come of it.  So, what do you think?  Would you sign the Pledge?

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Poll – Would You Sign the Pledge of Refusal to Pay Student Loans?

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve talked about the Pledge of Refusal to Pay Student Loans here and here.  Now I want to hear what you all think – would you sign?

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.