Student Protesters Locked Out in Occupy DC

occupy dc

Photo: The Nation

Sallie Mae Locks Out Student Protesters As Occupy DC Marches Against Skyrocketing Student Debt

Friday afternoon, a group of about seventy-five students mobilized at the OccupyDC camp at McPherson Square to raise the issue of crushing student debt. The average student, facing grim job prospects in the current economy, is graduating with at least $24,000 of debt.

The students and recent graduates then marched several blocks through DC to the lobbying headquarters of student loan giant Sallie Mae. As students posted letters and stories about their own debt on the walls of the building, a phalanx of police officers and security guards blocked anyone from entering the building.

The demonstrators, who had planned to voice their grievances in the lobby of the building, began chanting “if we had money, they’d let us in!” As the crowd swelled outside the Sallie Mae office at 7th Street and Pennsylvanie Avenue, security officers continued to block protesters from entering. The peaceful crowd said they only wanted to air their grievances with a representative from Sallie Mae, but were rebuffed. Watch it:

The demonstrators formed a human chain and said they didn’t want to see people leave without talking to them about student debt. Eventually, police escorted employees out of the building, and demonstrators verbally warned eachother against the use of any violence or harassment against Sallie Mae staffers. Watch the employees exit under police escort:

lee fang think progressSallie Mae, the nation’s largest student lender, has spent millions lobbying Congress to continue massive government subsidies to private lenders. Worse, Sallie Mae haslobbied aggressively, using money received from students, to allow private lenders to use predatory practices, including hidden fees.

Lee Fang
Think Progress 

ThinkProgress Intern Rebecca Leber contributed to this report

Republished with the author’s permission.


  1. -Nate says

    No Linda ; you signed a contract and have to pay for your education , that’s how the REAL WORLD works .

    I didn’t loose my dream home to foreclosure or a stupid predatory loan because instead of being stupid and expecting someone else to pay my way , I bought a crappy house in The Ghetto and raised my son there , no help from _ANYBODY_ , so go get a crappy job and work your way up and pay your debts . -Nate

    • dusty says

      Nate — You project yourself on to others, yet when others project their values and understandings you act superior to them and talk down. The whole student loan thing came about because with the drive to privatize education and compete with private education costs were escalated at the universities, not by the students or even the faculty and staff — but by politicians who funded schools but didn’t raise the necessary taxes to pay for pubic education. The burden was shifted on to students and has resulted in this debt tax on so many young people — millions in fact — and is becoming a detour to the excellent education that our young need to make their contribution to our world.

  2. Linda Sutton says

    Just a FYI, Citicorp recently sold off all their student loans TO Sallie Mae. Interesting that they continue debiting my account, but they say that they don’t HAVE my loan when I put in all my information….hmm.. Maybe I should stop the bank from paying these automatic debits???

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