Wiley College’s batch of 2022 students received the best graduation gift earlier this month. An anonymous donor paid for the outstanding balances of over 100 students.
The news came as an exciting surprise for the graduates as President & CEO Herman J. Felton, Jr. J.D., Ph.D., announced during the school’s 133rd Commencement Convocation held in Pemberton Sports Complex Field.
“Our commitment to our students goes beyond their time while they are enrolled,” President Felton said. The institution is known for its commitment to access by reducing the total cost of education in the past years to $17,500, which includes college tuition, room, board, and other fees. “We are constantly communicating with donors to assist students in these ways so that they can begin their after-college experience with less debt,” he added.
President Felton expressed his gratitude for the anonymous donor who has assisted students in clearing their balances, amounting to approximately $300,000. The philanthropic act aids the school’s goal of helping students graduate with little to no debt.
Student Loan Forgiveness Debate
Student loans have always been a burden on new graduates’ backs. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated most people’s inability to pay their balances due to being laid off and fewer job opportunities.
There are 43 million borrowers who hold over $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt, which is the second-largest debt acquired by Americans after mortgages.
The US government is divided on the student loan forgiveness debate. Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren has mentioned that President Biden has the power to cancel student debt without having to wait for Congress to take action. She argued that many people with college tuition debt pay for the loans “on what a high school grad makes.”
While Republicans agree that inflation and rising costs are an issue, they’ve presented legislation that blocks the president from forgiving student loans. Senator John Thune said that canceling the debt would “be grossly unfair” to others who’ve worked hard to pay off their balances.
President Biden has previously mentioned reducing student debt. He is reportedly considering whether additional debt forgiveness is viable. He announced that he would cancel $10,000 in student loan debt during his campaign. The POTUS has also extended the pandemic-related pause on repayment more than once.
Student Loan Debt and Race
Students of color have always been at a disadvantage after graduation. College tuition and post-graduate education are costly, and without the aid of generational wealth, they have no choice but to borrow money for their academic goals. Thus, they start their working lives already struggling financially.
The Donation’s Impact
The anonymous donor has made a tremendous impact that affects not only the graduates’ lives but also their families. The donation will allow the students to start their professional lives right and place them on the path to creating wealth for their families.
Instead of setting aside a chunk of their pay to repay their student debt, they can direct it to their savings or clear their family’s outstanding debts.