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US university surprises pupils by cancelling all student debts for 2020 and 2021 graduates

According to a post by the university, "The total tally that has been cleared from all Wilberforce students enrolled in 2020 and 2021 exceeds $375,000".

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
June 1, 2021 2:11:35 pm
Wilberforce University, Wilberforce University cancel student debts, Wilberforce University forgive graduates debts, good news, indian expressMany on social media lauded the university for their thoughtful initiative and said many others too do the same.

As students around the world tried their best to get used to remote learning amid the pandemic, there were still many worries bogging them down, especially the graduates. With uncertainty looming over securing job amid the crisis, the burden of hefty students loans left many uneasy. However, one university in The United States is winning hearts online after it cancelled debts of all students who graduated in 2020 and 2021.

Wilberforce University, which is the country’s oldest private university located in southwestern Ohio, on Saturday took outgoing students by surprise when it made an announcement during its commencement ceremony. University President Dr Elfred Anthony Pinkard, while addressing the students, shared that debt of students graduating during the pandemic will be erased — something which many dubbed “need of the hour” on social media.

“As these graduates begin their lives as responsible adults, we are honored to be able to give them a fresh start by relieving their student debt to the university,” Dr Pinkard said from the podium. The graduates erupted in joy and celebrated upon hearing the surprising news. Soon, the moment went viral online.

Watch the moment here:

 

According to a post by the university, “The total tally that has been cleared from all Wilberforce students enrolled in 2020 and 2021 exceeds $375,000”.

The university said the money to erase the debt came from various scholarship programs and institutional funds. “The university’s debt erasing dollars are resourced from various scholarships such as the United Negro College Fund, Inc., Jack and Jill, Inc., and other institutional funding to help students from last year’s spring and fall semesters and spring 2021 with their higher education finances,” the institution explained.

“I couldn’t believe it when he said it,” said 2021 graduate Rodman Allen in a statement released by the school. “It’s a blessing. I know God will be with me. I’m not worried. I can use that money and invest into my future.”

“During the ceremony I was thinking, ‘I have to pay all this debt back…I have to get a job…[but] as soon as Dr. Pinkard said ‘debt free’ I didn’t have to worry about anything else,’” another student Joshua Spears told WDTN.

While students will still be responsible for federal loans and debts owed to other organisations, students say this gift is helping them to start the next phase of their lives on a brighter note, the report added. As the news was celebrated online Dr Pinkard hoped that it will inspire students to pay it forward.

The move garnered lots of praise online, with many hoping other universities too do the same.

The student loan forgiveness came at a time when President Joe Biden dropped student loan cancellation from the latest budget this year.

However, it’s not the first time since the pandemic hit that the university decided to ease the burden on pupils. Last year, all its students were relieved of financial pressure “through the Higher Education Emergency Relied Fund (HEERF), set up through the CARES Act, which provided colleges and universities emergency financial aid.”

Earlier this month, Delaware State University also cancelled up to $730,000 in student loan debt for more than 220 graduates.

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