Billionaire Robert F.
Smith, who announced that he would pay off the student loan debt for Morehouse College’s 2019 class, will also cover their parents’ loans.
In a statement released by Morehouse College, it was revealed that Smith had donated $34 million to the Morehouse College Student Success Program, fulfilling a promise he made while giving the commencement speech at the university in May.
The statement also revealed that the 56-year-old founder and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners will also be covering Federal Parent PLUS Loans.
These are government loans that are given to the parents or legal guardians of the students to help pay for their children’s education.
The billionaire, who Forbes estimates is worth $6 billion, will pay off the debt of not only 400 graduating students but also their parents, eventually helping the graduating batch to pursue their higher education a lot more easily.
“This liberation gift from Robert Smith — the first of its kind to be announced at a graduation in higher education — will be life-changing for our new Morehouse Men and their families,” David A. Thomas, Morehouse College President, said in the statement.
“It is our hope that our graduates will use their newfound financial freedom to pursue their career goals, to lead and serve the community and to remember the spirit of the gift given to them by paying it forward to support the education of future classes of Morehouse Men,” Thomas added.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith said in his commencement address in May, before revealing the big news to the crowd.
“This is my class,” he said, “and I know my class will pay this forward.”
Student loan debt stands at $1.5 trillion across the United States and has been rising sharply over the recent years, Forbes reported.
Smith’s surprise announcement sent waves of joy across Atlanta, and people all over the world including top celebrities praised him for the incredible gesture.
“To know this man is to love him,” Jamie Foxx said on Instagram at the time. “The love for people is immeasurable!!! He is lifting us up every day!!! God bless you Robert Smith.”
Following the commencement ceremony in May, Smith wrote on Instagram: “Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you get educated.”
“Where you go to school shouldn’t determine whether you get textbooks.
“The opportunity you access should be determined by the fierceness of your intellect, the courage in your creativity and the grit that allows you to overcome expectations that weren’t set high enough.”
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