Headshot of a woman with freckles and an afro wearing a blue striped collared shirt and a blue houndstooth smock.

Joanna Darcus


Joanna K. Darcus is a former staff attorney who worked on litigation, debt collection, and student loan matters. As part of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project, she represented low-income student loan borrowers, most of whom are people of color. Joanna uses advocacy and litigation to address predatory education and lending practices. From 2017-2019, she was the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation Racial Justice Fellow at NCLC.

Prior to joining NCLC, Joanna was a supervising attorney at Community Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia. While there, she represented hundreds of low-income consumers sued by debt collectors or struggling with student loans. She also trained other advocates and pursued policy reforms.

Joanna is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law.

She is a contributor to NCLC’s Student Loan Law and Surviving Debt.

Joanna now serves as Senior Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education.

Featured Work

Student Loan Repayment Rights

The federal government has extraordinary powers to collect federal student loans if borrowers don’t pay. This article explains consumer rights to cancel, reduce, or delay federal student loan payments. Also covered are ways to get out of default short of paying past due amounts, how to respond to the government’s collection methods, and rights concerning private student loans.
Read More about Student Loan Repayment Rights