For-profit college debt strikers plead with Obama to discharge their loans: 'Don't leave us at the mercy of President Trump'

Ryan Shirley Heald Corinthian College Student For ProfitScreenshot Via YouTubeCorinthian students protesting the closure of their school in 2015.

In early 2015, 15 students at Corinthian Colleges, then one of the largest for-profit college chains, formed a group called the Corinthian 15 and pledged to strike until their student loans were discharged.

Corinthian Colleges shuttered its doors just months later, displacing roughly 16,000 students.

Today, as a part of the organisation called the Debt Collective, they are a more than 1000-person cohort on strike — with students from for-profits around the US including former ITT Tech students (which closed in September) —  claiming their for-profits colleges used manipulative financial tactics while providing them with a subpar education.

They released a statement and a video on Monday, pleading with President Obama to discharge their student loans before President-elect Trump’s inauguration.

“President Obama, don’t leave us at the mercy of President Trump,” Latonya Suggs, who also attended Corinthian College, said in a press release from the Debt Collective.

When Business Insider spoke with Suggs shortly after Corinthian’s closure, she had $32,000 of student loan debt and no job, despite having applied to about 300 jobs in the criminal justice field. She said she had either received no response or been told she’s not qualified.

The Debt Collective claims that the Obama Administration has yet to provide the relief they promised. 

“In 2015, Secretary Arne Duncan said defrauded students should get ‘every penny of debt relief that they are entitled to’… Yet, two years after the first students went on strike, less than 1% of affected borrowers have seen any relief,” the release read.

The Department of Education refunds federal loans to students enrolled in the last 120 days before a college closes in what is called a closed school discharge. But students who left the school before that 120-day time frame or who graduated but still feel they were defrauded by their college must instead file a “borrower’s defence to repayment” claim. 

The Obama Administration had planned to resolve backlogged relief claims from Corinthian and ITT Tech students by the spring of 2017, but will likely now be under additional pressure to speed resolution of the claims.

You can watch the Debt Collective’s entire video below:


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