Ohio’s private HBCU surprises graduates by writing off student debt
A historically black private university in Ohio surprised graduates of 2020 and 2021 by writing off their school debt.
Wilberforce University President Elfred Anthony Pinkard broke the news during Saturday’s opening ceremony, which both graduating classes attended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because we are impressed by your strengths and persistence. Because you made yourself and your family proud. Because you have shown that you can work in difficult circumstances. Because you represent the best of your generation, we want to give you a fresh start, ”said Pinkard in a video posted by CBS Newspath.
The students immediately erupted into loud cheers and applause with many gathered at the Gaston Lewis Gymnasium, raising their hands in the air and jumping up and down.
“Your accounts have been deleted and you owe Wilberforce nothing,” he said.
In an online statement, the president said the school was “honored to be able to give them a fresh start by relieving their student debt to the university.”
The total amount of debt discharged is over $ 375,000. According to the school, 166 students graduated on Saturday. The school was able to clear account balances through a number of scholarships, including the United Negro College Fund and Jack and Jill of America.
Graduate Rodman Allen told a school Press release that he’s going to use the extra money to “invest it in my future”.
“I couldn’t believe him when he said it,” Allen said. “It’s a blessing.”
Wilberforce University is located approximately 60 miles from Cincinnati and tuition fees costs just over $ 13,000 per year for full-time undergraduate students. Founded in 1856, it is the oldest privately owned HBCU in the country, owned and operated by African Americans, according to its website.