Last month, we sent out about a hundred requests (http://www.facebook.com/groups/sljgroup/permalink/10151509405851702/) to college presidents all over the country to help the citizens compel Congress to return standard bankruptcy protections to student loans. I received exactly zero responses to this respectful request.
Since that time, it turns out that one, and perhaps many more colleges have been squirreling away our student loan money in "tuition surplus" funds, despite their loud and dramatic claims of economic austerity over the past 5 years (in which they have raised their tuitions at an unprecedented rate).
I should say, here, that in this effort, I have become quite used to our groups research findings and activities being ignored, brushed aside, or even ridiculed (despite what has turned out to be a perfect, unblemished, record of accurate claims and predictions). So being dissed is nothing new. But to be so totally and uniformly ignored surprises even me. Even Congress has demonstrated a higher level of responsiveness, and that is a very, very low bar.
Anyhow, I'd like to try a similar project that will only happen if you help:
Please call your state's largest college system (ie the university of California, SUNY, etc.). Ask them how much in "tuition surplus" they have managed to build up to this point. Be persistent, and do not let them evade the question (ie like saying they don't have a tuition surplus where in actuality they do, but they call it a "reserve fund", or some other name). Do your best to get an accurate number from them, and let me know. I hope you'll agree that it would be nice to know what we are looking at here in the aggregate. If you can't get a straight answer, try finding the minutes of their budgeting meetings, annual reports, etc.
I do appreciate your efforts. With your help, I should be putting out some detailed results shortly.
Remember that accuracy is critical, here. if you aren't very confident about what you find, keep digging until you are.
Thanks, and Happy May Day!
ps. Please donate! (http://www.studentloanjustice.org/donate.html)