Today, the Debt Collective announced a collaboration with Morehouse College to eliminate every single penny of account balances Morehouse College had remaining in collections for the Fall 2022 term and prior. A historically Black men’s liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia, Morehouse College transferred that entire collections to the Debt Collective’s sister organization, the Rolling Jubilee Fund, for $125,000 — or a little more than one penny on the dollar. The total debt Morehouse held in collections for that time periodamounted to $9,707,827.67. With Morehouse College’s blessing, the Debt Collective then immediately extinguished all of it.
This is a no-strings attached gift, eliminating 2,777 accounts for the Fall 2022 term and prior. The Debt Collective expects nothing from the recipients in return. Now, thousands of Black men can receive their diplomas, access their transcript, pursue further education and move on with their lives.
“Our nation is defaulting on the promise of education when we burden communities, especially Black HBCU graduates, with crushing amounts of student debt,” said Braxton Brewington, spokesperson for the Debt Collective. “This nearly $10M of student debt cancellation will put thousands of Black folks in a better position to be able to save for retirement, purchase a home or start a small business. President Biden has yet to make good on his campaign promise to eliminate all student debt held by HBCU graduates. We’re doing our part, and it’s time Biden does his. Forty five million Americans need this relief.”
This is a historic collaboration. Together, the Debt Collective and Morehouse College are demonstrating just how easy it is to release people from the burden of debt. The fact that a small group of activists can eliminate $10 million dollars in a split second is a reminder of the amazing power the executive branch has to eliminate the crushing weight of student loans for the public writ large.
Last year, the Debt Collective erased nearly $2 million of debt held by about 500 students who attended Bennett College, a small liberal arts college for Black women in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In August, the Debt Collective launched its Student Debt Release Tool, a first-of-its-kind petition that allows anyone who has federal student debt—whether it is from Morehouse College or any other school—to file an application directly with the Department of Education to demand the full cancellation of their federal student loans under the “compromise, settle and release” authority within the Higher Education Act—the same legal authority the Biden administration is leveraging to begin a second attempt to meet his campaign promise of erasing student debt. In less than two months, more than 30,000 borrowers have successfully used the tool.
This collaboration is not the cancellation of federal student loan debt, but rather debts owed directly to Morehouse College. The Debt Collective cannot purchase federal student loan debt because they are owned by the federal government.
The Debt Collective is a national union for debtors, and a leading activist organization pressuring President Biden to abolish all student loan debt.