Florida HBCU doles out $16 million to pay off student debt

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(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Students at a historically Black college received a huge parting gift from their school during commencement ceremonies Saturday.

Larry Robinson, the president of Florida A&M University, announced the school spent over $16 million to cover fees, tuition and unpaid student account balances during the 2020-2021 school year.

“This is an indication of our commitment to student success and our hope that your time on the ‘Hill’ has been transformative as you take on the challenges of the day, go out and make a difference,” he told the graduates.

The university was able to use money from the federal Cares Act, which provides COVID-19 relief to organizations, to pay for the students’ costs.

FAMU Vice President for Student Affairs William E. Hudson, Jr told students the school wanted to give them some assistance given the struggles caused by the pandemic.

“Clearing student account balances from the previous school year was a way of practicing our motto of “Excellence with Caring” by supporting students and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement.

Florida A&M University is the latest HBCU to pay off their students’ debts and costs with the federal relief money.

Other schools that have announced similar plans include Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina, South Carolina State University and Spelman College.

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