Students at Virginia State University have officially joined a wave of other HBCU scholars who have had their student debt cleared. The Petersburg-based university announced it would cover outstanding balances for students who enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The debt elimination effort was financed through the CARES Act. For scholars who attended the institution during 2020 and spring 2021, all debt owed to the school will be erased. Donald Palm, Ph.D., who serves as Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, says the effort will play a pivotal role in shaping their financial futures. He also mentioned students should be solely focused on learning without feeling the burden of unaffordability. “We care about our students and their academic success and want to provide them the privilege of moving forward with a zero balance,” he said in a statement. “We believe that relieving them from these balances will provide much-needed relief that will allow our scholars to focus more intently on their academics and degree completion.”
Several HBCUs are using federal funds to provide financial relief for their students. Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College recently announced they would clear outstanding student balances for the 2020 and 2021 academic years. “The past two academic years have been emotionally and financially challenging for you and your families due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Clark Atlanta President George T. French Jr. wrote in a letter addressed to students. “I understand. That is why I am personally thankful for your resilience, perseverance, and ‘find a way or make one’ attitudes.”