Brookdale Forgives Student Debt For 1,600 Students, Thanks To ARP

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LINCROFT, NJ — This week, Brookdale Community College, the community college of Monmouth County, announced it forgave late tuition payments owed by more than 1,600 students.

The average amount the students owed was about $1,300, said the school. The 1,600 students had unpaid balances during the pandemic from spring 2020 through fall 2021.

That has now been forgiven.

The average tuition for one semester for a Brookdale student who lives in Monmouth County is $2,819. Tuition is higher for students who live outside of Monmouth.

Brookdale said it was able to forgive this money owed thanks to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which was passed under the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion COVID economic stimulus bill passed last March. Brookdale received $2 million to pay any outstanding student tuition.

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund gave $39.6 billion to American colleges, universities and community colleges to ensure students could keep working on their degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, First Lady Jill Biden was in Paramus this Wednesday, where she spoke on the campus of Bergen County Community College. Bergen County Community College also paid outstanding tuition balances for more than 2,000 students last year, Biden noted.

Community colleges and colleges in rural areas were identified by the American Rescue Plan as having students with the "greatest need."

"Having all financial restrictions lifted, will enable the students to continue their educational journey and pursue their dreams," said Yesenia Madas, vice president of Student Affairs at Brookdale.

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This article originally appeared on the Middletown Patch

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