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Josephine Lee

2015, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Josephine Lee

Josephine Lee

Name of Host Organization: Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
City, State: Los Angeles, California
Issue area: Consumer Rights, Education/Special Education
Sponsors: Anonymous

The Project

Josephine will increase non-traditional students’ access to affordable, quality higher education in Los Angeles through community outreach and advocacy on school financing and accountability of for-profit colleges.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
With the rise of predatory education schemes offering empty promises of success to society’s most vulnerable populations, there is an urgent need for effective legal services to protect students. In large part because of the federal funding that is made available to low-income individuals, financially distressed students have become the prime targets of fraudulent for-profit colleges. Many of these students realize too late that they have been deceived and are uninformed about their student loan rights and options moving forward. Desperate borrowers increasingly fall prey to proliferating student loan relief schemes, which illegally charge upfront fees and misrepresent important financial information. Without zealous legal assistance, many student borrowers will continue to be exploited and left worse off for trying to improve their lives through higher education – the most promising path to a healthier economic future for low-income people.
The Right Person For This Project
Josephine is the right person for the project because:
• She has expertise on student loan law issues and has served low-income student loan borrowers in Los Angeles and Boston
• She is committed to empowering the local community and collaborating with affected student loan borrowers to craft meaningful and sustainable solutions
• She has experience in education policy and has worked with the UCLA Graduate School of Education to help increase low-income students’ access to quality higher education
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Josephine will:
• Develop a pilot community education workshop to inform low-income borrowers of their student loan rights and options
• Use her language skills in Spanish and Korean to expand the legal services available to non-English speaking student loan borrowers
• Reach out to local legal services organizations and offer first responder trainings in an effort to strengthen the protective network for student loan borrowers in Los Angeles