Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) has announced that it is paying off more than $16 million in outstanding student balances for the 2020-2021 school year.
During the university’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, FAMU President Larry Robinson surprised the graduating class of 2021 by telling them that their debts from senior year have been forgiven.
He revealed that the money used in canceling student debts came from the university’s portion of the $1 billion dedicated to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the latest federal CARES Act. “There was some money on the account a week ago and now it’s gone. That was not a mistake,” he remarked.
According to Robinson, the cancellation of unpaid student balances illustrates FAMU’s commitment to student success. He urged graduates to continue making a difference as they continue with their lives.
‘Excellence With Caring’
FAMU Vice President for Student Affairs, William E. Hudson Jr., expressed his delight upon hearing the announcement. He explained that the school’s decision to cancel student debt is an expression of FAMU’s motto, “Excellence with Caring.”
He continued by saying that the debt forgiveness would be a huge help to students and their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic since it will “keep them from having to get loans to pay off their unpaid balance.”
Hudson pointed out that several HBCUs have cleared student debts, indicating that institutions are “very serious” in helping students finish their education.
“As a student who took out student loans, and currently still paying on those student loans, I understand the burden of debt. And so being able to decrease the debt of students once they graduate is something that’s very important to Florida A&M University,” he stressed.
HBCU Debt Forgiveness
In addition to FAMU, there have been other HBCUs that have canceled student loan debt amid the ongoing health crisis. One such institution is Clark Atlanta University, which said the school is canceling all student account balances for the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021.
In May, Wilberforce University also announced that student debt to the university from 2020 and 2021, totaling over $375,000, has been settled. The debt forgiveness was also made possible through the Act, which provided emergency financial aid for colleges and universities.