The Debt Collective, the nation’s first debtor’s union, has canceled close to $10 million in student debt for Morehouse College students.
Organizers announced the collaboration with Morehouse—a Historically Black College and University for men in Atlanta—to eliminate all account balances Morehouse College had remaining in collections for the Fall 2022 term and prior.
The no-strings gift, which eliminates 2,777 accounts for the Fall 2022 term and prior, will enable thousands of Black men to receive their diplomas, access their transcript, pursue further education and move on with their lives, said organizers. The Debt Collective have called on the Biden administration to cancel all student debt.
“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, a 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.”
Dr. David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College hailed the partnership as historic.
“Debt has proven itself to be one of the strongest deterrents in a prospective students’ decision to attend college and inhibitors in alumni’s socioeconomic success post-graduation,” said Thomas. “It is why our Morehouse’s $500 million capital campaign aims to position the College as a need-blind institution by 2023. Partners like the Debt Collective and Rolling Jubilee are making the investment to help level the financial playing field for our students and alumni, and we are all tremendously grateful for their vote of confidence through such a generous gift and financial relief.”
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.
Organizers noted that the collaboration is not the cancellation of federal student loan debt, but rather debts owed directly to Morehouse College.