An activism group canceled more than $1.7 million worth of student loan debt at an all-women historically Black college.
According to UNCF, the Rolling Jubilee Fund, a nonprofit, partnered with the Debt Collective advocacy group and announced their plans to wipe out student debt at Bennett College, located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Washington-based organization revealed that 462 graduates had their student loan debt erased by the advocacy group.
Bennett College released a statement explaining the generous offer while clarifying the cancellation.
“We understand that this has been an exceptionally challenging time and want to ease people’s burdens,” the statement said. “The debts that were erased for these 462 individuals were debts owed directly to the school. These debts are different from federal and private student loans, which we do not have the ability to cancel because they are owned by the federal government.”
Suzanne Walsh, president of Bennett College, said she initially ignored the email from the Occupy Wall Street activists, pledging to cover overdue bills at the all-women institution, USA Today reported.
“People just don’t reach out and say we can help your students pay off their debts,” Walsh said.
Braxton Brewington, a spokesperson for Rolling Jubilee, told the outlet that they chose the college because Black women have higher student loan balances than other borrowers.
“These are the people that are really taking the brunt of the student debt crisis,” Brewington said.
The deal comes after President Joe Biden announced his plans to cancel $10,000 of debt per borrower. While loan forgiveness was one of several issues he addressed on the campaign trail in 2020, Biden said in April that he would decide in the coming weeks.
Mike Pierce, executive director of the nonprofit Student Borrower Protection Center, said the White House’s decision regarding student loan debt could primarily affect low-income borrowers who continue to struggle with repayments.
“You’re not making the policy more progressive because of how hard it’s going to be for folks to demonstrate that they have a low enough income to benefit,” he told Insider. “The administrative burden associated with any effort to income-limit is going to end up making it hard or impossible for the lowest-income people to actually get their debt canceled.”