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Charlotte university to forgive about $300,000 in student debt caused by COVID pandemic

·2 min read

Johnson C. Smith University said it will pay off all outstanding balances for students enrolled between March 2020 and June 2021, joining a growing number of universities offering pandemic-related debt relief.

About $300,000 in debts will be canceled, Charlotte’s only historically Black college or university (HBCU) announced Thursday. JCSU has around 1,500 students enrolled, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Pfeiffer University, a private school in Misenheimer, also announced Thursday that it would eliminate $425,000 in student debts.

HBCUs have been particularly generous with this kind of funding, with over 20 such institutions so far offering pandemic-related debt forgiveness, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

In addition to JSCU, the following North Carolina HBCUs recently announced they’ve taken this step:

Durham’s N.C. Central University: over $10 million in student debts forgiven, the News & Observer reported Friday;

Raleigh’s St. Augustine’s University: over $9 million in student debts forgiven, the News & Observer reported June 29;

Salisbury’s Livingstone College, July 9: over $2.8 million in student debts forgiven;

Fayetteville State University, July 2: over $1.6 million in student debts forgiven;

Elizabeth City State University, May 26: $286,500 in student debts forgiven.

Many of these programs, including the one at JCSU, are possible because of the federal CARES Act. The funds also provided all returning JCSU students with direct relief last fall: $2,500 for returning students, and $2,000 for new students, according to the university.

Funding from the CARES Act, as well as alumni and donors, has allowed the university to provide its students with nearly $6.5 million since the start of the pandemic, the school said.

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