1:30 PM PDT, June 2, 2021
The cheers and screams at Wilberforce University’s graduation ceremony weren’t just the excitement from students graduating. It was also because those students had their student debt canceled.
During the service, the school president announced all student debt was erased for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, which caused emotions ranging from silent shock to exuberant screaming.
“The Wilberforce University Board of Trustees has authorized me to forgive any debt,” the president said at the ceremony. “Your accounts have been cleared, and you don’t owe Wilberforce anything.”
He added, “Because you have shown that you are capable of doing work under difficult circumstances because you represent the best of your generation. We wish to give you a fresh start.”
That means all student fees, fines, or tuition balances due directly to the school have been wiped clean. But federal student loans or bank loans are not included in this debt forgiveness
Located in Ohio, Wilberforce is America’s oldest private, historically Black university owned and operated by African Americans.
The amount of debt cleared in this act of generosity totaled more than $375,000. It was covered by the United Negro College Fund, Jack and Jill, and other funding.