Activists Clear Nearly $10M in Morehouse Student Debt

The Debt Collective paid off debt for nearly 2,800 former Morehouse College students — no strings attached.
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Updated on October 26, 2023
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  • A debt cancellation activist group teamed up with Morehouse College to wipe out almost $10 million in student debt.
  • The debt included money students owed directly to the historically Black men's college.
  • Former students couldn't receive their diplomas because of these outstanding balances.
  • Morehouse College said the feat the activist group accomplished points to the power President Joe Biden holds to cancel student debt.

This month, federal student loan payments restart for the first time since March 2020. But for 2,777 Morehouse College graduates, their debt burden just got easier to bear.

The Debt Collective, an activist group advocating for debt cancellation, cleared the $9,707,827.67 that former students owed the historically Black men's college in Atlanta for institutional debts like unpaid tuition, parking fees, and more.

While this doesn't include any federal student loans, the debt these students owed barred them from receiving diplomas, getting transcripts, and pursuing further education, according to a press release. According to research from Ithaka S+R, about 6.6 million students across the country have unpaid balances, meaning many can't get their transcripts.

Black students carry more debt than students of other races. Not having to worry about debt they owe to their college will help the Morehouse graduates avoid many of the problems repayment can pose. But Debt Collective spokesperson Braxton Brewington said it's not enough — President Joe Biden needs to uphold his promise to cancel debt for grads of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Our nation is defaulting on the promise of education when we burden communities, especially Black HBCU graduates, with crushing amounts of student debt, Brewington said in the press release.

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.

The Biden administration announced a student debt relief plan, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Biden is shaping a new student debt relief plan focused on the most in-need borrowers.

But through its collaboration with the Debt Collective, Morehouse College pointed out that erasing almost $10 million in student debt was painless.

Together, the Debt Collective and Morehouse College are demonstrating just how easy it is to release people from the burden of debt, the press release states.

The fact that a small group of activists can eliminate $10 million in a split second is a reminder of the amazing power the executive branch has to eliminate the crushing weight of student loans for the public writ large.

This isn't the first time the Debt Collective bought out debt at an HBCU. Last year, the Debt Collective erased $1.7 million in debt for former students at Bennett College, a North Carolina private women's HBCU.