The group Occupy Wall Street made its name by demanding systemic change to help the 99% of the country. However, one offshoot of that movement has quietly evolved into helping people on a financial level over the years since the start of the organization.
The third anniversary was this week and did not draw much media attention, but splinter group Strike Debt and Rolling Jubilee, its project announced they purchased and had forgiven close to $ million in student debt, just the latest in a line of debt purchases the groups have made.
The purchase has helped to relieve the debts of close to 3,000 people in the U.S., while drawing attention to what the organization calls the predatory practices of colleges and the U.S. Department of Education.
The debt forgiveness movement’s name is Strike Debt and it purchased over $3.8 billion in student loan debts that were private from lenders for people who had attended Corinthian Colleges, a private college company for profit that runs U.S. campus across the nation.
The group spent more than $100,000 buying the debt, using funds it collected during a viral campaign and a telethon.
The donations were very small with people giving $5 or a little more. The original plan had been to raise up to $50,000 and make a point that $50,000 could buy $1 million in debt, to show that it was worth it.
Near the end of 2012, via the Rolling Jubilee project, medical debt started to be purchased by Strike Debt for thousands and since that time buying in excess of $18 million.
Organizers used the next group of funds to go for private student debt.
Volunteers with Strike Debt worked together with experts in the industry and legal counsel that were pro-bono to purchase the debt from different debt collectors.
Then letters were sent to close to 3,000 of the Corinthian Colleges students to notify them one of their student loans was forgiven and need not worry about making payment on it.