Fifteen students are refusing to pay back federal student loans taken out to attend schools owned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., a network of for-profit colleges located across the US and in Canada.
The students — who refer to themselves as the Corinthian 15 — created a website where they have published a letter they wrote to the Department of Education asking for loan forgiveness.
All 15 also tell their own personal stories on the website.
In the letter, the students identify themselves as “people living paycheck to paycheck, single mothers, and young people just starting out.”
They tell the Department, “… We trusted you to ensure that the education system in this country would do so. But Corinthian took advantage of our dreams and targeted us to make a profit. You let it happen, and now you cash in.”
Here’s the full letter published on their website:
TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:
19 February, 2015
Who are we? We are the first generation made poor by the business of education.
We are people living paycheck to paycheck, single mothers, and young people just starting out. We wanted an education because we were driven to learn and to achieve a better life for ourselves and for our families.
We trusted that education would lead to a better life. And we trusted you to ensure that the education system in this country would do so. But Corinthian took advantage of our dreams and targeted us to make a profit. You let it happen, and now you cash in.
Each month you force us to make payments into an immoral system that profits from our aspirations.
We paid dearly for degrees that have led to unemployment or to jobs that don’t pay a living wage. We can’t and won’t pay any longer.
Repayment plans presented as a helping hand simply aren’t good enough. The wrong done to us is deeper than that.
We are not alone in this fight. Corinthian’s predatory empire pushed hundreds of thousands into a debt trap. But even beyond for-profit schools, tens of millions of students are in more debt than they can ever repay. And you are the debt collector, with powers beyond a payday lender’s wildest dreams.
To the Department of Education and to the lenders, servicers, and guarantee agencies who have stolen our futures, we say: enough! Erase these loans.
To current and former college students across the country, we say: we stand with you to demand the end of a higher education system that profits from all our dreams. Join our fight.
We won’t pay. We are the Corinthian Fifteen,
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