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Contra Costa College Erases Debt for 2021 Graduates

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A community college in Northern Carolina had the best graduation present for this year’s class: student loan forgiveness.

To help students struggling financially during the pandemic, the Contra Costa College (CCC) Foundation forgave existing student loan debt for its May 2021 graduating class. The school will ensure that no student is denied a degree due to owing money to the school.

“Imagine the sigh of relief these students are taking right now,” Interim President Damon A. Bell said, adding how “erasing this debt for over 60 students is empowering them to move forward, whether it’s onto their continued educational journeys or meaningful careers.” 

The ongoing pandemic has severely impacted low and middle-income students, who constitute 85 percent of community colleges like CCC. With average debt forgiveness of $214 per student, the college foundation was able to graduate all students with a smile.

Student Reaction

While the amount may seem insignificant to some, “For a low-income student, a student with a family, struggling to put food on the table, maybe housing insecure, $400, $200, $150 matters,” Sara Marcellino, a member of CCC’s foundation board, told Denver7.

Overjoyed students told Marcellino that what might be a drop in the bucket for the school, is effectively “a tidal wave” for them, wiping away their financial woes.

One graduate, Alexander Walker-Griffin, believes there is no bigger gift than financial security. “For myself, I’m eternally grateful for this and I know so many other people are happy about this too,” he said.

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