Private HBCU in Ohio surprises grads by wiping out their student debt

Over $375,000 of student debt was forgiven as a gift to the graduating class of Wilberforce University.

“We wish to give you a fresh start,” University President Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard announced during the graduation ceremony. “Therefore, the Wilberforce University Board of Trustees has authorized me to forgive any debt.”

The institution is a private HBCU located in Ohio, established in 1856. According to Wilberforce, the money to clear the debt was sourced from numerous scholarships, such as the United Negro College Fund, Inc., and Jack and Jill, Inc. Wilberforce clarified that state and federal student loans would not be forgiven.

The statement reads, “… what we have done is to forgive the debt that our students owe to Wilberforce University. However, we have neither the authority nor the resources to forgive student debt owed to any other source.” Student debt has reached an all-time high of $1.7 trillion according to the Federal Reserve. Despite campaign promises, President Biden has decided against canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt.

Biden stated, “It depends on the idea that I say to a community, ‘I’m going to forgive the billions of dollars of debt for people who have gone to Harvard and Yale and Penn … Is that going to be forgiven, rather than use that money to provide for early education to provide for young children who come from disadvantaged circumstances?”


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