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[Postponed]: Past, Present, and Future of Student Debt Organizing

Mar 14, 2024


NYU Law (Lester Pollack Colloquium) Furman Hall

Time of Event:


Please join LPE NYC for Past, Present, & Future of Student Debt Organizing at NYU Law on March 14th at 6:30pm, cohosted with The Debt Collective, The Action Lab, and the Initiative for Community Power. Please register here to attend in person.

Nearly 40 million people have student debt in the US. The burdens of debt fall disproportionately on those from disadvantaged backgrounds, exacerbating existing inequalities. Every day, student debt shapes lives,  preventing people from buying a house or car, getting married or having kids, and pushing people into more lucrative but less socially valuable and individually rewarding work.

In recent years, the cancellation of student debt has gone from politically inconceivable to something taken seriously by the establishment (even if in smaller ways than we might hope). And while small, targeted efforts have had some success, the Supreme Court struck down the central effort by the Biden Administration to cancel student debt, and Republicans are doubling down on efforts to prevent cancellation by privatizing student loans.

At the same time, organizing and social movements for debt cancellation are stronger than they have been in a long time, pushing toward bigger and more ambitious horizons. How should we orient ourselves in this terrain of struggle? How do we connect it to other struggles? Join us for an all-star panel of people leading the charge for the cancellation of student debt and other forms of student debt organizing:

Jalil Mustaffa Bishop is an educator and activist. He co-founded the Equity Research Cooperative (EqRC) which conducts racial justice research on dismantling racism and inequity, redistributing its money, and providing grassroots collectives and people of color with organizational support and funding opportunities. Bishop has done extensive research on the racial dynamics of student debt, especially the Black student debt crisis

Eileen Connor is the Director of Litigation for the Project on Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. The Project is the first legal services practice in the country focused solely on representing former students of the for-profit college industry. The goal is to prevent and undo the transfer of taxpayer funds to large corporations that exploit the promise of higher education and provide vulnerable populations with useless degrees and illegitimate debt.

Jane Fox is a Legal Aid Attorney who has helped her coworkers and others achieve debt cancellation through the cumbersome and often confusing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Last year, Fox co-authored an article in the Journal of Law & Policy on how improvements to the student debt cancellation program can help address the problem of access to justice through public defenders. 

Luke Herrine is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Alabama and one of the co-founders of the Debt Collective. His 2020 article, “The Law & Political Economy of a Student Debt Jubilee” was the first to suggest using “compromise” authority to cancel student debt, which helped reshape the conversation around student debt cancellation. More recently, his innovative legal strategy for flooding the Department of Education with applications for debt cancellation from defrauded borrowers contributed to a successful campaign to use the previously dormant “borrower defense” authority to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars of student loan debt.

Please register here to attend in person. If you would like to attend virtually, please sign up here.