These HBCUs Are Paying Off Their Students’ Debts


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In recent months, multiple HBCUs announced they would be clearing the debt of their students, who’ve been burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The amazing feat was made possible in part due to funding from the federal government through the COVID-19 stimulus packages passed in December and March and donations received over the last year. 

“To address the financial hardships that have taken a toll on students and families over the last year, Spelman College cleared outstanding student balances from AY 2020-201, an action made possible by the receipt of funds from the federal government,” Spelman College posted to their Instagram.

The Atlanta HBCU is just one of at least 9 Black higher education institutions clearing students’ debts and helping incoming students get a clean slate.

Back in April, the US Department of Education announced it was providing debt relief to 45 HBCUs in an effort to “help to ensure they have more resources to educate and graduate students during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona wrote in a statement at the time. 

Since then, at least 9 HBCUs have already cleared student balances –– either completely or partially. Those schools include

Wilberforce University in Ohio 

Shaw University in North Carolina 

Delaware State University 

Philander Smith College in Arkansas

Simmons College in Kentucky

South Carolina State University 

Clark Atlanta University 

Spelman College 

Saint Augustine University in North Carolina

Other schools, like Clinton College in South Carolina, have lowered tuition for the upcoming school year while others like Wiley College in Texas are offering students learning tools like computers and tablets.

“Our HBCUs have long been on an uneven playing field, financially, as compared to many other postsecondary institutions,” Cardona said. Lawmakers have also proposed an infrastructure bill that would directly support the renovation and revitalization of HBCU campuses across the country. 

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