According to an announcement from the Atlanta HBCU, it surprised its students last week after announcing that it would be clearing unpaid student account balances from the last five semesters over the 2020-2021 school year.
FOX 5 also reported that CAU officials say that roughly 900 students with nearly $2 million in debt will have their balances canceled immediately.
“We understand these past two academic years have been emotionally and financially difficult on students and their families due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” President Dr. George T. French, Jr. shared in a statement. “That is why we will continue to do all we can to support their efforts to complete their CAU education. Their academic and professional future is important to me and the entire Clark Atlanta University family. We care about students and want to lighten their individual and family’s financial load so they can continue their journey in pursuing and attaining their educational and professional goals.”
Remaining balances previously prevented students from registering for classes for the fall semester, but this new initiative from CAU is making sure that barrier doesn’t prevent students from pursuing their degrees.
According to the university, its move to provide financial relief for students is part of the “Momentum” CAU has experienced over the last 16 months. The significant amount of support the school has received from the federal government throughout the pandemic arrives under the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which has enabled the university to assist students in many ways.
This assistance includes providing emergency financial aid dollars, refunding a pro-rated amount of housing and meal charges for Spring 2020 semester, offering discounted tuition and fees for the entire 2020-2021 academic year and purchasing 4,000 laptops for every financially-enrolled student as well as hotspots for students with little to no internet access in their homes.
After a year of health and social issues, CAU witnessed how students — especially those at HBCUs — around the world were affected mentally, financially and beyond due to two pandemics.
Now the university, like others, is trying to find a way to help their community the best way they know how during this time.