Kate Childs Graham
WASHINGTON—Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the Department of Education's announcement that it will sever ties with five student debt collection agencies. The AFT—through work with coalitions and partners like the Higher Ed, Not Debt campaign and Debt-Free Future—has been advocating for this type of action for several years.
"These student debt collection agencies—including Pioneer Credit Recovery, a subsidiary of Navient Corp., the nation's largest student loan servicer—are known predatory actors whose profit-taking has contributed to the wage stagnation of an entire generation. Until higher education is free, collection of student debt should not be handled by for-profit firms. It should be brought back into the Department of Education, where it was for many years. This is a victory for every student who wants to climb the ladder of opportunity. Let's face it: Most of us aren't pole vaulters; we climb this ladder one rung at a time. These student debt collection agencies are pulling the rungs out from under our nation's students and graduates. We're glad the Department of Education has finally taken a first step to protect those with student debt."