Occupy Student Debt and Occupy Colleges have recently merged. Collectively, our beliefs are simple: we are here to advocate on behalf of students and to educate as many people as possible about the growing crisis of student debt. We are fighting for quality, affordable and accessible education for all students who want to obtain a college degree. Beyond that, we don’t have any demands as we are forming a broad coalition.
Today, over 36 million people in the United States have student loans, while at least 1 out of 5 borrowers go into default. As highlighted in a short video we released, those who default are slammed with exorbitant fees and penalties, exploding and usurious interest rates, ruined credit ratings, possible suspension of driver’s licenses, possible suspension of professional licenses, and more. For these reasons we have opposed the campaign to encourage borrowers to voluntarily default on their student loans. If a million people were to actually default, this would be a dream come true for companies such as Sallie Mae who happens to own many collection companies as well. Due to heavy lobbying from these student lenders, consumer rights have been stripped away and lenders make far more if the borrower defaults.
Since last October, Occupy Student Debt has provided a platform for over 800 student borrowers to share their student debt horror stories and connected many of these victims to the media. Since we started this, several other groups such as Rebuild the Dream, Education Trust, and the Young Invincibles have started similar platforms for borrowers to broadcast their message- and kudos to them! This tells us that we must be doing something right.