The Debt Collective paid off the overdue debts of nearly 500 former students at Bennett College

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FILE - In this May 17, 2018, file photo, new graduates line up before the start of the Bergen Community College commencement at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Many new college graduates are struggling to find work as their first student loan payments loom on the horizon. Fewer entry-level jobs are available during the pandemic, and unemployment benefits typically aren’t accessible. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
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The Debt Collective, an organization that emerged from the Occupy Wall Street movement, paid off the overdue debts of nearly 500 former students at Bennett College, an all-women’s historically Black institution in North Carolina, USA Today reports.

It arranged to purchase $1.7 million of overdue student debt and then canceled it. This debt, however, doesn’t include federal student loans, only money owed directly to the college.

Letters were sent to 462 former Bennett students informing them that the debts they owed directly to the college were erased, according to the United Negro College Fund.

The range of discharged debts included charges for tuition costs, unpaid parking tickets or overdue library fees. Institutions typically withhold access to academic records while debts are overdue. So, the students now have access to their transcripts.

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