Wilberforce University forgives debt of 2020, 2021 graduates

The total cleared for the students is more than $350,000


Wilberforce University 2021 graduates celebrate after learning their debts from the university have been cleared. (Photo Credit: Screenshot/Wilberforce University 2021 Commencement Ceremony)
By: Alyssa Wilson

Wilberforce University alumnae who graduated in 2020 and 2021 are walking away from campus with no debt. The university announced that money owed to the university by students from those years had been settled and “carries a zero balance.”  

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At the end of commencement, Wilberforce University President Elfred Anthony Pinkard made the announcement to the audience.  

The money to eliminate the debt came from various scholarships hosted by the United Negro College Fund, Inc., Jack and Jill, Inc. in addition to other institutional funding.  

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Rodman Allen, a 2021 graduate, said, “I couldn’t believe it when he said it. It’s a blessing. I know God will be with me. I’m not worried. I can use that money and invest it into my future.”  

This act by Wilberforce comes at a time when student loan debt is crippling Americans who collectively owe more than $1 trillion in student loans, CNBC reported. 

RELATED: Student loan debt widens racial wealth gap  

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Black and African American college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than their white counterparts. Additionally, 48% of Black students owe an average of 12.5% more than they borrowed and 29% face monthly student loan payments of $350 or more.  

President Pinkard hopes this will help recent graduates with their futures. “As these graduates begin their lives as responsible adults, we are honored to be able to give them a fresh start by relieving their student debt to the university,” he said.