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Howard University Announces Debt Relief for Some Upperclassmen

Amid ongoing uncertainty about COVID-19, some Howard University students learned that they would have one less issue to worry about this semester as they make the transition back to campus.

On the evening of Aug. 30, officials announced that the university eliminated the outstanding debt that some juniors and seniors incurred during the spring semester.

The Informer wasn’t able to determine how many students received the credit or the total amount spent by the university.

The credit, designated as “HU COVID Need Support,” stands as the most recent of Howard’s efforts to assist students who’ve suffered financial hardship throughout the pandemic.

Students who qualified had an expected family contribution of $0. The university’s announcement hinted at assistance for more students in the coming weeks.

Howard followed in the footsteps of universities, particularly those serving Black students, that have canceled student debt this year. For instance, Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark. and Wilberforce University in Ohio counted among more than 20 historically Black colleges and universities that wiped out the balances owed by 2020 and 2021 graduates.

In the District, Trinity Washington University cleared $2.3 million in balances for more than 500 graduates in July. This happened as the White House and congressional lawmakers remained immersed in discussions about wiping out federal student loans, and the Biden administration championed loan forgiveness for certain populations.

Schools wiping out loans, not to be confused with the cancellation of loans owed to banks or the federal government, happened, in part, because of funds allocated to higher education institutions in the American Rescue Plan.

Since the pandemic started, Howard has doled out more than $27 million in direct cash payments, waived fees, emergency housing and meal assistance and other supportive services. In a statement, Howard University President Wayne A.I Frederick recognized students who weathered an 18-month storm.

“I am…thankful for the perseverance exhibited by these and all students who have persisted in their educational journey despite difficult circumstances,” said Frederick.

“We take our responsibility to our community and to all those who place their trust in us for their education or employment very seriously. Howard will always devote as much of our resources as we can to minimize the challenges our faculty, staff and students encounter.”

More information about “HU Covid Need Support” to come in a future article. If you are a student who received this type of assistance from Howard University, please email Sam P.K. Collins at scollins@washingtoninformer.com

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