South Carolina State University, a historically Black university in Orangeburg, said in a news release last week that the move will provide relief for students “who were previously unable to return to college due to financial hardship caused primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
What We Know:
- SC State University Acting President Alexander Conyers said in the release that the school is “committed to providing these students with a clear path forward so they can continue their college education and graduate without the burden of financial debt caused by circumstances beyond their control.”
“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,” he said.
- The decision to erase the student debts will be funded by nearly $10 million the school received in federal aid. SC State University is utilizing approximately $4 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and $5.8 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. Both pieces of legislation provided economic relief to Americans, businesses and other organizations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Wilberforce University announced last month it would clear more than $375,000 in debt, including fines, fees and other balances paid directly to the school. Clark Atlanta University announced that it too, would clear student debt from the 2020-2021 school year.
Debt among college students has increased more than 175% over the last 20 years.
Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack
Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.
What We Know:
- Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
- Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
- A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack. Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.
Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.
Howard University installs Chadwick Boseman’s name on College of Fine Arts building
The “Black Panther” star is seen as an “icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation,” the university said.
What We Know:
- Howard University has renamed its College of Fine Arts after late actor Chadwick Boseman, who died last year at age 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer. The historically Black university shared a time-lapse video showing the installation of the new letters on the school’s building, which is now the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
“Yesterday, the letters were installed over the now official Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts,” the school said in a tweet Friday. “An icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation. Thank you Mr. Boseman.”
- Howard University first announced in May that it would rename its performing and visual arts school after the ‘Black Panther’ star who also happens to be an alumnus of the school.
- Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in directing. During his time at the school, Boseman led a student protest against the absorption of the College of Fine Arts into the larger College of Arts & Sciences, according to the university.
In 2018, the year Boseman rocketed to international fame as King T’Challa in the Marvel cinematic universe, the university announced that its performing and visual arts school would return to its independent status.
Education Department Will Erase $5.8 Billion in Loans For Borrowers With Disabilities
The Department of Education (DOE) announced it would eliminate the outstanding loans of over 32,000 borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities. It will also remove barriers that block future students from qualifying for this relief.
What We Know:
- The DOE’s declaration erases approximately $5.8 million in debt. In addition, NPR writes that it symbolizes a “significant step” toward improving a “troubled debt relief program meant to help borrowers with disabilities.” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirmed this statement when the Education Department revealed its decision, stating it would remove a major barrier for disabled students.
“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Cardona said.
- Despite the program’s intention to wipe student loans of those who cannot work due to disabilities, those who qualified for the program needed to apply for relief. Under the new plan, students will obtain automatic relief when identified through a data match with the Social Security Administration. The next match will take place in September.
- In addition, the Department of Education said it would propose to eliminate the three-year income monitoring period. Officials will stop sending requests to borrowers for income information during the aforementioned years. Furthermore, the DOE will consider removing it entirely during the upcoming negotiated rule-making.
- Disabled students and advocates believe this will bring change to the program. Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the vote is “long overdue.” However, Yu hopes the Education Department will review the eligibility criteria to determine when someone holds a disability discharge.
Yu added that Social Security’s match does not identify some qualified borrowers.