In Dover, Delaware, Delaware State University officials are canceling up to $730,655 in student debt for those recently graduated students who are facing financial hardship during the pandemic.
The Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management is Antonio Boyle. Antonio estimated that the average eligible student can qualify for about $3,276 in debt relief.
This is roughly a third of a year’s tuition.
This initiative will help more than 220 graduates, removing any delays in receiving diplomas.
According to a statement issued by Antonio, he reported that:
“Too many graduates across the country will leave their schools burdened by debt, making it difficult for them to rent an apartment, cover moving costs, or otherwise prepare for their new careers or graduate school. While we know our efforts won’t help with all of their obligations, we all felt it was essential to do our part.”
It’s also important to note that 87% of all students who graduate from Delaware State University are entering their desired career of choice or enter graduate-level studies within six months of commencement.
On top of that, this 87% is higher than the national average.
These funds are important and needed to cancel these students’ debt. These funds also became available through the federal government’s American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief.
If we take a look at the website surrounding the American Rescue Plan, the claim is that it will create tens of thousands of jobs to respond to COVID-19, and support public health officials.
The University President is Dr. Tony Allen. Tony explained the significance of this debt relief action, saying,
“Our students don’t just come here for a quality college experience. Most are trying to change the economic trajectory of their lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. Our responsibility is to do everything we can to put them on the path.”
In other words, the students are well-intentioned and are just as deserving for a better future, just like anyone else.
It also makes a lot of sense, given world events. If anything, allowing people to graduate easier will definitely bring more healthcare/essential workers to the forefront. Therefore, people get the jobs they want while also servicing gaps in the industry.
Dr. Tony noted that debt reduction is consistent with the values and initiatives of Delaware State University. For example, Delaware State makes student debt fairly manageable compared to most other schools.
“We haven’t raised our tuition in over six years; we issue every incoming student an iPad or a MacBook; we are replacing traditional textbooks with less expensive digital editions, and our Early College High School saves the average family of nearly $50,000 in college expenses.”
In 2020, the US News &. World Report assessed America’s top colleges and it listed Delaware State University among the top 1% in the category of “Social Mobility”. According to the report, social mobility is defined as “enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students.”
Dr. Tony is also optimistic about Senate Bill 95, which could extend the University INSPIRE scholarship from half the tuition (for four years) to full tuition for eligible Delaware students. Earlier in the month, the legislation, sponsored by Senator Trey Paradee, had passed the Senate unanimously, with a vote of 21–0.
The Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees is Dr. Devona Williams. According to Dr. Devona,
“Great universities have to go a step beyond ordinary. This is that kind of moment for us.”
It’s great that such an amazing and inclusive school exists in Dover, Delaware. The students of today deserve great opportunities. If anything, we need to keep on doing things to ensure that the newest generations are able to help everyone, including the greater community.