Delaware State University (DSU) announced it would cancel more than $700,000 in student loan debt for graduates affected by the pandemic.
The historically Black university shared the good news on May 12.
“Too many graduates across the country will leave their schools burdened by debt, making it difficult for them to rent an apartment, cover moving costs, or otherwise prepare for their new careers or graduate school. While we know our efforts won’t help with all of their obligations, we all felt it was essential to do our part,” Antonio Boyle, Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management, said in a press release.
According to Boyle, 87% of Delaware State University students enter graduate school or their intended career path within six months.
The school can foot the bill thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, a federal COVID-19 stimulus package. Each eligible DSU student qualifies for around $3,276 in relief.
Student loan relief is a hot topic as the Biden administration weighs the issue amid increasing pressure from Congress and student loan borrowers. President Joe Biden has promised to cancel up to $10,000 in debt, but for many, that isn’t enough, reported The Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer recently claimed the president has “the authority to cancel $50,000 of student debt per person with the flick of a pen.”
He also argued forgiveness would help close the economic gap between the races.
“Canceling student debt is the one thing we can do right now that will jump-start our economic recovery, help build long-term economic opportunity and close the racial wealth gap. Student debt disproportionately hurts people of color,” Schumer added.
Schumer has a point. A report from the National Center for Education Statistics found Black graduates owe $25,000 more in loans than their white counterparts. They’re also the most likely to struggle financially due to student loan debt.
This reality isn’t lost on DSU president, Dr. Tony Allen.
“Our students don’t just come here for a quality college experience,” he said. “Most are trying to change the economic trajectory of their lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. Our responsibility is to do everything we can to put them on the path.”
In other words, Delaware State University did a BIG thing, and hopefully, other schools follow suit.