Delaware State University (DSU) will cancel $730,655 in student loan debt for more than 220 graduates who have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
DSU will pay off the debts for students through funds the HBCU received from President Joe Biden‘s American Rescue Plan, according to a university press release. DSU added the average eligible student will qualify for about $3,276 in relief.
“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,” Antonio Boyle, DSU’s vice president for strategic enrollment management said. “While we know our efforts won’t help with all of their obligations, we all felt it was essential to do our part.”
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Student loan debt is the third-highest debt in the U.S at $1.57 trillion. According to Experian, student loan debt rose by $583.9 billion last year, a 114% increase from 2019. Democratic lawmakers and student loan cancellation advocates are still pushing President Biden to cancel all student loan debt, but many remain skeptical about the president’s desire and ability to fulfill those plans.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union told The Hill they’re encouraged by the appointment of Richard Cordray, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director, as chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid at the Education Department.
The organizations and politicians want Biden to cancel $50,000 per borrower, while Biden has expressed a desire to cancel just $10,000 per borrower.
DSU President Tony Allen said the debt relief is paramount for DSU graduates who came to college to change their futures, not spend the rest of their lives paying off the degree they received.
“Our students don’t just come here for a quality college experience,” Allen said in the release. “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.”