One university is using federal pandemic relief money to cancel $9.8 million in loans owed by students who left school because of money problems. It's an effort to help the former students resume their education and graduate without debt, the Guardian reports. "No student should have to sit home because they can't afford to pay their past due debt after having experienced the financial devastation caused by a global pandemic," said Alexander Conyers, acting president of South Carolina State University. The historically Black college, the only one in the state, is wiping the loans off the record for more than 2,500 students who dropped out because they couldn't afford to stay in school or did not reregister for that reason and are interested in returning. Loans from the federal government or private lenders won't be affected, per the State.
"This is a tremendous weight I won't have to carry," Romaun Myers, a junior from Summerville, said in a university news release, adding, "I have to make it so I can provide for my family." Enrollment has been declining rapidly, per the State, and the South Carolina State administration hopes to bolster it with the returning students. The federal government has frozen student loan payments until Oct. 1 because of the pandemic, but President Biden has faced pressure to do more. When Biden promised to close the racial wealth gap, NCACP President Derrick Johnson pointed out that the plan doesn't do anything about student loans, per the Washington Post. "You cannot begin to address the racial wealth gap without addressing the student loan debt crisis," Johnson said. (Read more student loans stories.)