This Kentucky HBCU Has Paid Every Students’ Tuition Since Last Spring


“To get a letter saying that the next semester is paid in full, that is amazing,” Simmons College senior Paulette Johnson told WLKY. “It’s a testament of the stability of the college and the community and where we are headed.” 

Simmons College of Kentucky, an HBCU in Louisville, has paid the tuition of its enrolled students since the spring of 2020. The school was able to provide the financial awards through $2.76 million in federal funding, using more than $400,000 to cover tuition for students, which has been a huge relief. 

“Knowing that your main needs are taken care of gives you an opportunity not only to study but to be creative, to step outside of your comfort zone, to try harder, and to do more,” Johnson said.

Founded in 1879, Simmons College is the nation’s 107th historically Black college. The College’s 13th President, Dr. Kevin Cosby took the helm of the school in 2005 and helped move the school forward following years of setbacks stemming from the Great Depression. Under his leadership, the school regained its accreditation, and reacquired its original land. 

In addition to paying students’ tuition, Simmons leaders say the funds will be used to upgrade the school’s HVAC system and it will be offering four additional majors starting next fall.

Notable Simmons College alumni include singer and Broadway actor Leon Bibb, as well as Artishia Gilbert, who, in the late 1890s, became Kentucky’s first Black woman to be licensed to practice medicine. 

Photo: Getty Images


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