CALLING ALL DEBTORS! Open call for contributions to Debt Archive

You are invited to the Debt Archive, a platform for sharing your personal testimonies around student debt; its effects on you, your career, education, and/or the general trajectory of your life. These stories will be collected into a digital archive that will live past this current crisis and serve as a lesson to future generations on the devastating effects of educational financialization as well as a blueprint for transforming this broken system into one that works for the holistic benefit of our entire society not just for the accounting sheet of a few billionaires.

Debt has a controlling interest in higher education. As of November 2021, student debt in the United States totals $1.75 trillion. 44.7 million people (about 1 in 8) currently hold at least some student debt. 37% of those that have student debt, owe more than $100,000. In the last 20 years, tuition at both public and private colleges and universities has increased an average of 144%. Colleges and universities need new debt in order to perpetuate their business model. Wage stagnation creates and maintains a system of exploitation among hourly laborers (particularly adjuncts and graduate students who make up the majority of teaching staff at many higher education institutions) who live paycheck to paycheck while being crushed by debt. Student debt represents one of the most insidenous transfers of wealth from working and middle class folks to the owning class in recent history.

Here are some questions you might consider as you work to articulate your personal debt story:

Do you have student loan debt?
How much of your debt have you already paid and how much do you still owe?
Why did you take out student loans?
What do you view as the value of higher education?
How has your debt burden affected your life?
What would debt cancellation mean to you?

These stories can take any form that can comfortably live on a digital archive. Text, image, and moving image responses are all welcome! Write a manifesto, a personal memoir, create a collage, or film a performance that speaks to your experience with student debt and the ways you’ve had to navigate the kafksesque system of repayment. All contributions will be accepted on a rolling basis! Direct contributions to humantrashdump AT gmail DOT com and please feel free to share this call (

By submitting a story/digital files to us, you agree to have your work published to HUMAN TRASH DUMP’s digital repository ( where the digital files you submitted will be viewable and downloadable to the public. Along with your contribution please provide how you would like your name written/credited. Anonymous contributions are fine, please specify that if that is your preference. Include any other relevant information about yourself that you feel comfortable with (pronouns, geographic location, the institution where you received your debt from, what degree you received, etc.)

Debt is an archive, a series of transactions, and promissory notes. There is no comfort in debt. When debt takes control, there is a toll. Higher education is a privilege when it should be a right. Control is maintained under the guise of academic decorum and professionalism. This structure falsely preys on the physical and psychological states of a student. How students keep a sense of personal control and self-worth depends upon their perception of reality.

We add our names to the long list of those demanding the cancelation of debt we are asking you to join us.

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