Activists Fight Merger of Two Companies Accused of Preying on Students

The campaign against the deal between Corinthian Colleges and ECMC gains steam, and the $24 million acquisition hits roadblocks

Advocates rally outside of ECMC’s headquarters in protest of a proposed sale of Corinthian Colleges to ECMC.

Bryan MacCormack

On a biting day in December, 11 activists marched into the headquarters of Educational Credit Management Corp. in Oakdale, Minn., and asked to see David Hawn, the chief executive officer. ECMC, an agency that once quietly worked on behalf of the U.S. government to collect and service student loans, was catapulted into the public eye late last year when it announced it planned to buy Corinthian Colleges, a chain of for-profit schools with a history of questionable practices, for $24 million. Hawn didn't meet with the protestors, they said. Instead, his head of communications walked out and listened as Maggie Thompson, a campaign manager for the nonprofit Higher Ed, Not Debt, listed concerns about the proposed deal, including the proposal that students won't be allowed a refund on their student loans, and delivered a stack of more than 2,600 signed petitions from Corinthian students.

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