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Former Bennett College scholars will be able to step into the next chapter of their lives without carrying the weight of student debt, thanks to a major boost from a collective of activists. The North Carolina-based HBCU received a $1.7 million donation to eradicate outstanding balances for hundreds of students.

The gift was provided by the Debt Collective and the Rolling Jubilee Fund. Both entities—which have strong ties to the Occupy Wall Street movement—have a shared mission of cultivating a society that provides publicly funded higher education, guaranteed housing and universal healthcare.

Cognizant of the education debt crisis’s disproportionate impact on HBCU students, the Debt Collective and the Rolling Jubilee Fund intentionally decided to donate to Bennett. Through their contribution, 462 former students had their outstanding payments owed to the institution cleared. The donation is timely as many students and graduates are dealing with exacerbated financial burdens that stem from the pandemic.

“We understand that this has been an exceptionally challenging time and want to ease people’s burdens,” read a statement from the college. The effort led by the debt union and the nonprofit comes amid the push for President Joe Biden to eliminate federal student loan debt.

News about the partnership between Bennett College, the Debt Collective and the Rolling Jubilee Fund comes weeks after Wiley College received a $300,000 gift from an anonymous donor to clear the student debt for the HBCU’s 2022 graduating class.

“During his campaign, he promised to cancel all undergraduate student loans for people who attended any public or private HBCU and make under $125,000 per year as a way of ensuring racial and economic equity and responding to the COVID-19 crisis,” shared the college’s representatives. “This promise is especially important for the well-being, upward mobility, and success of Black women, who are disproportionately burdened by student debt.”



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