INSTITUTE INDEX: HBCUs use federal stimulus funds to ease student debt

HBCU students are disproportionately burdened by student loan debt. Now, some of these institutions are using COVID-19 relief funds and other resources to help. (Photo by Bossi via Flickr.)

Average amount of student debt that Black college graduates owe after leaving school: $52,000

Amount by which that exceeds the average debt owed by white students: $25,000

Four years after graduation, percent of Black students who owe an average of 12.5% more than they borrowed: 48

After that same time, percent of white students who owe 12% less than they borrowed: 83

Percent of students at historically Black colleges and universities who have to take out federal student loans: 80

Percent of non-HBCU students who have to do so: 55

Percent of HBCU students who have to borrow $40,000 or more to attend college: 25

Of the top 10 schools for debt related to Parent PLUS loans, federal direct student loans available to guardians of dependent undergraduate students, number that are HBCUs: 4

Percent of Black student borrowers who report that their net worth is less than the amount they owe in student loan debt: 50

Percent of Black student borrowers who report delaying home buying because of student loan debt: 46

Amount of funding the federal COVID-19 stimulus packages directed to HBCUs, paving the way for schools to cancel at least some student debt: $5 billion 

In recent months, number of HBCUs across the South and country that have taken actions to alleviate student debt: at least 11

Using funds from the second COVID-19 stimulus package, amount of student debt that private Shaw University — the oldest HBCU in the South, located in Raleigh, North Carolina — was able to relieve: $116,000

Amount in federal stimulus money Shaw also used to pay for summer school costs for about 400 students: $1 million

Using money from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund in the CARES Act, amount of student debt that St. Augustine's University, another private HBCU in Raleigh, was able to clear for 800 students: $9 million 

Amount of student debt Fayetteville State University, a public HBCU in North Carolina, cleared using funds from the American Rescue Plan, wiping out the tuition balance for nearly 1,500 students: $1.6 million

Amount of debt that Philander Smith College — a private HBCU in Little Rock, Arkansas — cleared for students graduating in both the classes of 2020 and 2021 with help from the Jack and Jill Foundation's College GAP Fund: $80,000

At Morehouse College, a private HBCU for men in Atlanta, amount of student loan debt cleared by billionaire commencement speaker Robert Smith in 2019 — a move that motivated alumni and university leaders nationwide to begin thinking about ways to lighten students' debt loads: $34 million

(Click on figure to go to source.)