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The artist who burned $500 million worth of student loan notes

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

A Chilean artist says he stole and burned $500 million in student debt notes from the Universidad del Mar, a private, for-profit university in Chile that closed in 2012, the Washington Post reports:

The case of the destroyed student debt traces back to a hastily shot home video, a half-smoked cigarette, and a disheveled artist named Papas Fritas. In the video, which went viral last week in Chile, Papas Fritas confessed he had recently stolen the documents from the for-profit Universidad del Mar. Then he set them ablaze in a defiant, brazen act of art.

The university now must pursue borrowers and sue them individually to repay their debt.

More on the history of Chile's education system, which dismantled public colleges in favor of for-profit universities that would compete in the free market, from the Boston Review.

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