The debt-free movement at historically Black colleges and universities throughout the country is pushing forward. Howard University is one of the latest institutions to clear the debt for some of its students.
The Washington, D.C.-based school recently announced it would eliminate outstanding balances for juniors and seniors who have been significantly impacted by the public health crisis and aren’t expecting family contribution. The balances for the Spring 2021 semester will be covered. Wayne A.I. Frederick, who serves as Howard University’s President, says the move was made in an effort to eradicate barriers standing in the way of graduation. “Howard University is committed to holistically supporting our students,” he said in a statement. “During the course of the pandemic, we know that many students experienced unforeseen financial hardships that put their plans for pursuing higher education in jeopardy. I continue to be incredibly grateful for the support of the donors who have made this debt alleviation possible. I am equally thankful for the perseverance exhibited by these and all students who have persisted in their educational journey despite difficult circumstances.”
Howard University’s latest debt cancellation effort is an extension of financial relief initiatives that the HBCU has already established. The school has distributed more than $27 million in cash payments and waived costs for meal assistance and emergency housing. Amid the pandemic, the university has also led initiatives centered on bridging the digital divide and addressing food and housing insecurity.
News about Howard’s debt alleviation program comes weeks after Virginia State University announced it would cover outstanding balances for students who enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clark Atlanta University, Hampton University, Spelman College, South Carolina State University, Wilberforce University and Delaware State University are among the other schools that have led student debt cancellation efforts.