Florida A&M University provided its student body with more than $16 million in debt relief during the 2020-2021 school year, the school's president revealed on Saturday.
University President Larry Robinson made the announcement at one of four commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020 held over the weekend, telling the audience the aid was made possible by the CARES Act, which Congress passed in March of last year.
“Some of you will be leaving us with a whole lot of debt that some of your predecessors and I want you to understand how much, how important that is to us, allowing you to go out into the world and get off to a much better start than you might otherwise. And for those of you who are staying with us, that’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for you as well,” Robinson said during the ceremony, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
William Hudson Jr., the historically black university's vice president for student affairs, said the erasure of student balances showed the school was staying true to its word.
“Clearing student account balances from the previous school year was a way of practicing our motto of 'Excellence with Caring' by supporting students and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. It keeps them from having to get loans to pay off their unpaid balance. It’s been a tough year for our students and their families," he said in a news release.
The CARES Act provided nearly $14 billion in new funding to create the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, with about $576.9 million marked specifically for historically black colleges and universities.
The university, in its announcement, pointed to other examples of HBCUs providing financial aid to students through new pandemic-related funding, such as Clark Atlanta University.
George French, the president of Clark Atlanta, told students on July 22 that the school elected to use CARES Act dollars to cancel all student account balances from the spring 2020 semester through the summer 2021 semester.
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Original Author: Jeremy Beaman
Original Location: Florida university spends $16 million to forgive student debt