Friday, July 1, 2022

Debt Collective Clears $1.7M Account Balances for Nearly 500 HBCU Women

African American - Black - Female College Graduate (Freepik)
African American – Female College Graduate (Freepik)

*Nearly 500 women graduation candidates at North Carolina’s Bennett College received a pleasant surprise when Debt Collective offered to clear their debt. Debt Collective is a union of debtors rallying against consumer debt. The union contacted the president of the HBCU and proposed to come through for the current graduating students.

It was a special congratulatory gift that the women almost missed because Suzanne Walsh, the president of the college, initially ignored the email coming from the Debt Collective, thinking it was a scam.

Walsh reasoned that no one would simply come out of the blue and offer to clear such a huge debt, so she was skeptical.

However, when Bennett College and Debt Collective officials finally had a conversation, the latter negotiated to clear $1.7 million of the unpaid student balances. The lucky women whose debt is canceled will not have a student balance, essentially having full access to postgraduate records.

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But why did Debt Collective choose Bennett College? Braxton Brewington, the group’s spokesperson, said in a statement that they selected it based on data indicating Black women there have higher student loan balances compared to other groups of students that take the loan. But Debt Collective only cleared direct debt owed to the school, not federal student loan balances.

“These are the people that are really taking the brunt of the student debt crisis,” Brewington told USA Today.

This kind gesture by Bennett College comes at a time many activists and groups such as the Debt Collective pile pressure on President Joe Biden to write off all federal student loan debt. While campaigning to be president, Biden promised to get rid of up to $10,000 in debt per borrower. He also endorsed the proposal to cancel the federal student loan debt of middle and low-income HBCU students.

Debt Collective is just one of the groups that say student loan debt should not be a barrier for students, past and present. Student loan payments were paused when the pandemic reigned, an act that persuaded some observers that it is possible to cancel such loans without substantially hurting the economy.

The Debt Collective readily admits that whatever it is doing is not the solution, just an example of what can be achieved with goodwill.

“We are shouting from the rooftops that this is something the government should be doing, not a group of activists from Occupy Wall Street,” Brewington added.




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