Debt Collective Higher Education Committee


We are launching our first national committee with the goals of supporting union growth, deepening member involvement and strategizing about how to achieve deep structural change of our higher education system.

What is it?

This committee, made up of Debt Collective members from around the country, will be researching, brainstorming, and strategizing to inform the Debt Collective’s higher education campaign, with the aim of achieving deep structural transformation including full student debt cancellation and tuition-free college for all. This committee will strategize around all aspects of higher education, including but not limited to: for profit schools, federal and private student loans, faculty and student experience, equitable access, university debt, and other aspects of higher education as the committee determines.

What are we going to do?

By coming together across the country and across the union, this committee will work to help to develop and make recommendations for the Debt Collective’s overall strategy and road map for debt and tuition-free college. This should include, at various points, input and feedback from the full Debt Collective membership, including at least one mass survey of our membership and an endorsement process of our overall strategy and road map as the committee helps create it.

What does that look like in practice?

Once the committee launches, members will meet bi-weekly to discuss Debt Collective policy and strategy on revolutionizing higher education. Research and recommendations will be shared with Debt Collective directors, staff, and, when approved, general membership. This includes:

  • Identifying who we should be talking to, working with, and moving for deep structural transformation of our higher education system;
  • Building strategy and solutions that addresses challenges around: private student loans, funding for universities, and others;
  • Providing regular reportbacks and updates to Debt Collective staff and members as well as engaging with and reporting to each other on what’s happening in other areas of the Debt Collective to ensure flows of information and engagement within and across the union.

Between meetings, members of this committee will be getting support from our working groups but also conducting independent research, outreach to stakeholders, and other tasks as determined by the committee. The committee may also decide to form subcommittees and will elect at least two roles - Chair and Notetaker - which will necessitate higher levels of commitment.

Who should be part?

Anyone who is interested in strategizing around higher education and the future of higher education. How do we build toward higher education as a reparative public good? What problems currently exist in our higher education system? How can we address them? This committee is for anyone who wants to be part of that discussion and meets the requirements below.

What are the requirements?

To join, you’ll need to meet to the following:

  • A current member of Debt Collective (dues paying or zero dollar membership)
  • Commit at least 5 hours a month to meetings and/or conversations with the other committee members
  • Agreement with our shared values and principles
  • Attendance at least one previous Jubilee school or a commitment to attend a future one

Who needs to be in this group?

We want all our committees to reflect both the diversity of our membership and the disproportionate impact of debt across identity categories.

To meet that goal, we’re working to build a committee that fits the following parameters: at least 10 members in the committee with:

  • At least 60% of the group having direct lived experience of the harm caused by our debt-funded higher education model. Specific prioritization and centering of those most impacted by debt and/or excluded from college based on data (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, women, LGBTQIA+, disabled, & low-income communities)
  • At least 3 experts with specialization in and familiarity with: funding, accessibility and inequity issues in higher education; debt-financing of higher education; various proposals, models, legislation and solutions for tuition-free higher education (local, state and federal); and/or discussions around reparative public goods, decolonization and other racial justice issues in higher education

We are taking applications with specific demographic questions so we can ensure that this group mirrors the experience of higher education, including:

  • The majority of the group is people of color, as well as women/femme/non-binary (non-cis male), with:
  • At least one person from for-profit school
  • At least one person who didn’t complete their degree
  • Geographic diversity, representing the whole of the country, including non-major metropolitan, regional and remote areas of the country

What outcomes will this group produce?

This committee will produce recommendations and help develop our strategic vision and a road map for higher education.

How do I get involved?

Applications are currently closed and the current committee members will have their first meeting in mid-late May. Once the committee is finalized, this thread will be updated with the committee names and overall selection process for full transparency. If you’d like to join in the future, please let us know and we’ll let you know when the committee is open again for new applicants.