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Billionaire Robert Smith Extends His School Loan Payoff To Include The Students’ Parents

Billionaire Robert Smith Extends His School Loan Payoff To Include The Students’ Parents

Lord, whatever you’re doing in this season for the kids, make sure you do it for the parents!

Earlier this year, we reported about Billionaire Robert F.  Smith’s extreme generosity when he decided to pay off the student loan debt for the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse. Well the blessings just keep rolling! Smith has now included the debt of the parents of those students in his massive pay it forward act! 

You heard us right! Robert F. Smith will be paying off the student loan debt of all 400 Morehouse graduates AND any debt their parents accrued on their behalf. Smith originally provided a grant to the University, somewhere in the estimated $34 million range, that would be used for the sole purpose of eliminating student debt. 

Earlier Friday, parents and guardians received a letter detailing the terms of the payoff and notifying them that it includes their school loan debt as well. The donation from Smith, whose estimated worth is about $6 billion, is the first in a new program being rolled out by Morehouse, which would encourage donors to fund the cancellation of student debt.

Student loan debt is not a new issue but definitely one at the forefront of the conversation right now. Most students are leaving college with extraordinary amounts of debt and no reprieve in sight. Morehouse students were no different. Almost 70% of Morehouse students had taken out federal loans, which is proportionate to the national average. The total amount of debt at Morehouse’s graduation was about $35,000 - $40,000, higher than the average for students at HBCUs. The government currently has about $94 billion in outstanding parent student loan debt.

David Thomas, the President of Morehouse said that “It is [the school’s] hope that our graduates will use their newfound financial freedom to pursue their career goals, to lead and serve the community, and to remember the spirit of the gift given to them by paying it forward to support the education of future classes of Morehouse Men.” 

Smith echoed Thomas’ sentiments saying that he hopes this program can set the tone for colleges “to receive gifts from alumni and other supporters that can offset the burden of student loans and give students the freedom to pursue their dreams, the capital to invest in the economic growth of their families and the time that they can give back meaningfully to strengthening their communities.”

Currently there are six different loans that are eligible for payoff including federal, Georgia state and private loans processed through Morehouse. Disbursement to lenders is expected to be completed by Spring 2020. 

Wow! What we wouldn’t give to be in the number!

Photo Courtesy of Morehouse