Public colleges in 49 states send students’ debts to collection agencies, imperiling financial futures

 Public colleges in 49 states send students’ debts to collection agencies, imperiling financial futures

This story about debt collection was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

Richard Fishburn never imagined he’d one day be facing down debt collectors — all because he decided to return to college.

An Army veteran who had worked all his life, Fishburn enrolled at Cleveland State University in Ohio in 2016. But in his third semester, when the back injury he sustained in the Army flared up, his advisers encouraged him to take time to heal so he wasn’t in excruciating pain sitting in lecture halls.

That decision proved costly. Although he withdrew from…

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