Billionaire Robert F. Smith created an initiative that aims to ease student loan debt for HBCU students.
What We Know:
- The wealthiest Black man in the country has made a pledge to help black communities through education specifically for Black students.
- Robert F. Smith created a new non-profit organization called The Student Freedom Initiative that will focus on the disproportionate loan burden on Black students. The initiative will create more choices for students whose career options or further educational opportunities might be limited by heavy student loan debt.
- The billionaire announced the new initiative during a discussion with Time Magazine for their Time100 series, which was titled “The Business of Change”.
- Smith stated “Of course, we all like the great one story, but I want thousands of these stories, and I want thousands of Robert Smiths out there who are actually looking to do some things in fields that are exciting to them and are giving back.”
- He also said “I think it’s important that we do these things at scale and in mass because that’s how you lift up entire communities”.
- The Student Freedom Initiative will start in the fall of 2021 and will give juniors and seniors at 11 HBCU’s lower interest rate loans and require students to make payments based on their income for up to 20 years after graduation.
Smith is partnering with Micheal Lomax, CEO of the United Negro College Fund, and Harvard professor, Dr.Henry Lweis Gates Jr for this initiative.