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Snapchat CEO Pays off Student Loans of Graduates at LA School

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Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel has paid off the student loan debts of this year’s graduates at the Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles.

Spiegel — who took summer classes at Otis during high school — repaid the outstanding student debt of 285 students in the outgoing class of 2022 with his wife, Miranda Kerr. This is the largest donation in the school’s century-long history.

“Otis College is incredibly grateful for this historic gift,” college President Charles Hirschhorn said in a statement. “Student debt weighs heavily on our diverse and talented graduates. We hope this donation will provide much-deserved relief and empower them to pursue their aspirations and careers.”

The donation comes as the student loan debt crisis intensifies, driven by soaring college costs and declining state funding. With nearly $142 billion in outstanding loan debt, California has the largest share of any state.

‘Speechless’

President Hirschhorn’s announcement of the donation at the commencement ceremony drew gasps and cheers from the audience.

Graphic design graduate Yaritza Velazquez-Medina said she ended her career as a crisis counselor to study at Otis, taking her chance on a major career change even though it meant racking up $70,000 in debt.

“I’m speechless,” a teary-eyed Velazquez-Medina told the Los Angeles Times after Sunday’s event.

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