The student loan debt in the United States has grown to be over 1.6 trillion dollars with 43.3 million loan borrowers and the average loan debt of an individual is $37,113, according to the Education Data Initiative. At Emporia State, many students get sent to debt collectors each year. In 2021, 205 student accounts were turned over to debt collectors and 250 student accounts in 2020, according to Pamela Norton, controller of the business office.
Kaitlynd Brasher was one of many students who was sent to debt collections over unpaid student loans and/or outstanding balances. Brasher said she felt as if she could no longer afford her living expenses after her wages were garnished.
While we understand the importance of paying off your debts and what’s owed to universities, it is also important to consider the ethics of sending struggling former students to debt collectors. It is extremely inhumane to send them to collections over educational bills, especially after we all have suffered so much because of the pandemic.
It is horrifically money-hungry for educational institutions to be so focused on the dollar amount and garnish people’s wages for not paying off the frankly absurd amount we pay to study at institutions. ESU sued Brasher and garnished 25% of her wages. This is unacceptable and the university should be ashamed of its behavior. Brasher is a mother of a three-year-old and is now struggling to afford to survive.
While we appreciate Financial Aid offering programs like Corky’s Wallet, one-on-ones and seminars to students, it is still unacceptable to have Business Affairs send people to collections. College debt is not only one of the largest debts carried in this country but it is one of a handful of debts that cannot be erased by filing bankruptcy in most circumstances. Student debt will forever follow us no matter what, so why stick the knife in further and send people to collections or garnish wages? Stop being so money hungry and leave former students alone.