Historically Black Morehouse College in Atlanta is launching the Morehouse College Student Success Program, a fundraising and research initiative that will enable graduates to pursue advanced degrees, start careers, and build wealth without being tethered to undergraduate student loan debt.
The new program was established by the college’s board of trustees as a national investment strategy to curb student loan debt and help graduates to prosper faster. Through the program, Morehouse will solicit and accept donations made specifically to reduce or eliminate student loan debt of Morehouse men, thus creating an opportunity for greater financial freedom for new alumni and their families. Additionally, the college will research the impact of the cost of higher education on their students, and the freedom of choice that alumni experience in their careers when their student loan balances are paid in full or reduced to manageable levels.
“The Morehouse College board of trustees believes that student loan debt can be an obstacle in the path of Morehouse Men that can cause them to delay enrolling in advanced degree programs, working as K-12 teachers, or pursuing other interests that they are passionate about,” said David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College. “The Morehouse College Student Success Program will provide students with a liberating gift that will wipe away or greatly reduce their student loans, allowing them to pursue their dreams and lead lives of leadership and service immediately after graduation.”
According to UNCF research, 80 percent of HBCU students use federal loans to fund their education, compared to 55 percent of their peers at other private and state institutions. HBCU graduates also borrow nearly twice as much as non-HBCU students. Additionally, 25 percent of HBCU students borrow $40,000 or more to attend college.
“Morehouse’s program to provide debt relief to new graduates is a fund-raising opportunity that should be studied and duplicated nationally,” said Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund. “The impact of such a gift, particularly for minority or economically disadvantaged families, could accelerate the growth of a more diverse and robust middle class.”
“We look forward to charting the progress of those who receive generous support from the Student Success Program,” said President Thomas. “We encourage those who receive gifts to pay it forward and help upcoming classes to enjoy a significant level of financial independence from student loan debt.”