Delaware State University announced on Wednesday that it is canceling more than $730,000 in student debt for recent graduates facing financial hardship, WPVI reports.
The funds will be used to cancel about $3,300 worth of debt for 223 students.
The money came from the coronavirus relief bill approved by Congress in March.
"We got money from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan, and there's a number of things that we can do with that money as it relates to COVID-19," said Carlos Holmes, a spokesperson for the university. "This is one thing we've decided to do with this money, to help our students and help defray the costs that they're leaving here with."
School hopes to make a dent in debt crisis:
University President Tony Allen told WZZM that the school aims to keep “student debt manageable.”
“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.”
“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,” added Antonio Boyle, a vice president at the school.
Biden admin approves:
The move came after Education Secretary Miguel Cardona updated guidance allowing colleges to use stimulus funds for various student needs.
Cardona’s guidance said that the funds can be used to cancel student debt and provide “financial aid grants to dual enrollment, continuing education, non-degree seeking, or non-credit students, as well as to a broad range of students with exceptional needs, such as certain refugees or persons granted asylum.”
"Many students have had their postsecondary careers turned upside down as they manage their schoolwork while also protecting themselves from this virus," Cardona said in March. "We hope every eligible student takes advantage of these benefits while continuing to focus on their studies.”