More than a dozen students who say they got suckered into big student loans launched a debt strike last week and are refusing to make payments on their federal loans. It's a good move, writes Astra Taylor in the New York Times, but it's not nearly enough. These particular students attended the for-profit Corinthian college chain, which has been accused of predatory lending practices, but students all over the country from both private and public schools are similarly weighed down by unfair loans. If they band together and refuse to pay, "this would transform the debts into leverage to demand better terms, or even a better way of funding higher education altogether."
Modest fixes are no longer enough, writes Taylor, who thinks Congress should consider "full-scale student debt cancellation." Think of the long-term benefit to the economy if young people could spend again instead of sending their money to debt collectors and loan servicers. For a longer-term fix, "we also need to bring back the option of a public, tuition-free college education once represented by institutions like the University of California, which charged only token fees." It's possible and it's necessary, but former students "will have to show that they are willing to throw a wrench in the gears of the system." Click for the full column.