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TSU joins other HBCUs in wiping out debt for some students

TSU said Thursday it would pay off the account balances for returning students who were enrolled for Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee State University has joined other Historically Black Colleges and Universities in wiping out debt for many of its students.

TSU said Thursday it would pay off the account balances for returning students who were enrolled for Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021. The school said it would also cover Summer 2020 and 2021.

“We are keenly aware that the number one reason that students do not return to college is lack of funds,” said TSU President Glenda Glover in a news release. “Paying off account balances for our students will relieve some of the financial stress that they have and allow them to focus on studying and completing their degrees. At TSU, we pride ourselves in going that extra mile to assist our students. And that's precisely what we are doing by paying student balances.”

TSU said the money to pay off the student balances is coming from the federal CARES Act.

“At the end of the day, it’s about the commitment to our students and the University,” said Douglas R. Allen II, TSU’s vice president for business and finance. “This is one of several initiatives we are implementing to assist them.”

“This is really good,” said senior Jeia Moore from Memphis. “It shows this is more than just a school, it’s a family. If something happens, and I need help, then the school has my back. I love it!”

“TSU clearing my balance has been the best thing to happen to me all year,” said Grad student Tramon Jones. “No longer having a balance will allow me to focus on becoming a school counselor in my community.”

“I actually wasn’t going to get my master’s, but now I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Grad student Kiaya Caine of Nashville. “This initiative is going to help a lot of students.”

TSU said it will be fully operational for Fall 20201 and is expecting its largest freshman class in five years. Freshmen are scheduled to move in August 10-12, with returning students doing so the latter part of the week.

The initiative to wipe out student debt has been taken on by HBCUs across the country. At least 20 HBCUs have paid off a combined total of more than $25 million in student debt in the last three months. Most have used money from The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which is a part of the CARES Act.