What would you do if told your student debt could be erased?
These students don’t even have to consider this question because it’s been done!
Insider reports that the president of Wilberforce University, the country’s oldest private historically Black university, surprised Saturday’s graduating class with the gift of a lifetime- no student debt!
During his commencement address, President Elfred Anthony Pickard announced that he would forgive the students’ debt. He proposed the move came after realizing the difficulties students faced while attending school remotely during the pandemic.
“Because we are in awe of your strength and perseverance because you have made your family and yourselves proud because you have shown that you are capable of doing work under difficult circumstances because you represent the best of your generation, we wish to give you a fresh start,” said Pinkard in his speech. “So, therefore, the Wilberforce University board of trustees has authorized me to forgive any debt.”
A total of $375,000 in debt was cleared from all students enrolled in Wilberforce in 2020 and 2021.
Per The Washington Post, the university enrolls more than 700 students and 166 were part of this year’s graduating class.
Thanks to scholarships from the United Negro College Fund, Jack and Jill, along with other institutional funding students are now debt-free.
“Your accounts have been cleared, and you don’t owe Wilberforce anything,” Pinkard continued. “Congratulations.”
Wilberforce is located in Ohio and is named after British abolitionist William Wilberforce. It is the oldest private historically Black university in the country and was founded before the Civil War serving as a destination point of the Underground Railroad and was favored by greats like W.E.B DuBois.
According to the university, the gift is meant in part to attack the racial gap between Black and white students in the U.S.
While debts have been forgiven, this only applies to debts to the school. Students will still be responsible for paying back any federal, state, or private loans taken out to attend the school.