Morehouse College Launches Ambitious Program to Wipe Out Student Debt
Nation’s only historically black men’s college is launching a new program to address the burden of mounting loan debts on its students.
On Wednesday, Morehouse College announced the launch of the Student Success Program, a fund-raising and research initiative that will especially aim at curb student loan debt.
The donations and pledges received under the program will be specially diverted to wipe out student loans. The college will also study the impact of the cost of attending college on its students and the freedom of choice that alumni experience when they repay full or major part of their student loans.
“The Morehouse College Student Success Program will provide students with a liberating gift that will wipe away or greatly reduce their student loans, allowing them to pursue their dreams and lead lives of leadership and service immediately after graduation,” said David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College.
Recent studies have shown that student loans negatively affect the wealth accumulation of black adults who owed an average of $14,670 when they graduated, compared to $2,946 for students of other races. 55 percent of black males and 45 percent of black females default on their loans within 12 years of starting college.
Loans are also contributing to a lack of diversity among faculty members in public schools. Between 2008 and 2012, black students who were trained to teach experienced a higher median federal student loan debt in comparison to other racial groups, while simultaneously earning less in comparison to their white counterparts, forcing many to leave the jobs.
“Morehouse’s program to provide debt relief to new graduates is a fund-raising opportunity that should be studied and duplicated nationally,” said Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund.
“The impact of such a gift, particularly for minority or economically disadvantaged families, could accelerate the growth of a more diverse and robust middle class,” he added.
In May, Robert F. Smith, a billionaire and founder of Vista Equity Partners, during the commencement ceremony had announced to create a grant to eliminate the students’ loans of 2019 graduates. which was valued at $40 million.