Morehouse College Launches Effort to Reduce Student Debt

August 8, 2019

Morehouse College in Atlanta is launching a new fundraising and research initiative to curb student loan debt and help graduates build careers unburdened by heavy debt.

The new Morehouse College Student Success Program will solicit and accept donations made specifically to reduce or eliminate students' debt load. Administrators at the historically black institution say they hope the program "becomes a new model for HBCUs and other liberal arts institutions seeking strategies to offset the stress of student debt on alumni and their families," according to a statement released by the college. A study of student loans among HBCU students found that they are more likely to seek loans from more costly sources and have more difficulty repaying them.

Morehouse's Office of Institutional Advancement is in talks with philanthropists, corporate partners and other supporters who have expressed interest in donating to the new program. College officials did not say whether the new initiative was related to the widely covered announcement in May by a billionaire businessman, Robert Smith, that he would pay off an estimated $40 million in college loans owed by students in Morehouse's graduating class of 2019. (He also gave Morehouse $1.5 million in January to fund an endowed scholarship program.) A spokeswoman for the college said details about the total debt of that year's class, and a formal process for paying off the various types of loans the students hold, are still being finalized.

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