Patricia Ann Bowers has a story to tell about $57,000 in debt owed to the federal government for student loans paid to a for-profit school from which she was unable to earn a bachelor's degree.
Ms. Bowers is one of the "Corinthian 15," a group of 15 working adults who now find themselves deep in debt to the government after disillusioning experiences with schools run by Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit education company that has folded in recent months following intense government scrutiny of their enrollment practices and placement success.
According to Ms. Bowers, Everest College -- one of Corinthian's subsidiaries -- assured her during repeated recruitment calls that they could accommodate her physical limitations due to accidents and help realize her dream of earning a bachelor's degree in marketing.
But when she suffered a tragic loss of a son and sought to take some time off, the school refused to give her a leave of absence, telling her that she needed to remain enrolled even if she was unable to attend classes or do well in them. She incurred so much loan debt in the course of three years of pursuit of a bachelor's degree that she has become ineligible for any additional federal student aid now -- even though she is still short of the credits needed for a bachelor's.
Now Ms. Bowers is refusing to pay the money back -- part of an organized "debt strike" among 15 former Corinthian students aimed at convincing thousands of others to do the same in an effort to bring attention to a national epidemic of student loan debt incurred by adults who are recruited by for-profit schools to pursue programs that they are unable to complete or to leverage into jobs in their chosen field.
Ms. Bowers' story -- and those of others in the Corinthian 15 -- are featured in a lengthy article
published by ThinkProgress.org.
Another member of the Corinthian 15 is Mallory Heiny, a woman from western Michigan who attended Everest Institute in Grand Rapids, incurring nearly $30,000 in student loan debt of a license practical nurse diploma that she was unable to attain before the program shut down. Ms Heiny told Fox 17
that she was informed that she was ineligible for a discharge of her loan because she had been in the program too long.
The Washington Post also covers
the Corinthian 15, along with the Huffington Post with this item
. As does Newsweek with a story
and this graphic: