Story at a glance
- Ohio’s Wilberforce University wiped out the debt of its 2020 and 2021 graduates on Saturday.
- The surprise announcement came during the historically Black university’s commencement ceremony.
- According to the university, 166 students graduated, and the debt cleared exceeded $375,000.
On Saturday in Ohio, a private historically Black university (HBCU) revealed to the graduating classes of both 2020 and 2021 that it would be wiping out their school debt in a commencement surprise.
Founded in 1856, Wilberforce University is the oldest private HBCU in the United States owned and operated by African Americans, according to the school website, with full-time tuition costing $13,000 per year.
Wilberforce University President Elfred Anthony Pinkard made the surprise announcement during the commencement ceremony, which featured the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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“Because we are in awe of your strengths and perseverance. Because you have made your family and yourselves proud,” Pinkard said in a CBS Newspath video. “Because you have shown you are capable of doing work under difficult circumstances. Because you represent the best of your generation, we wish to give you a fresh start.”
“Your accounts have been cleared,” he announced, “and you don’t owe Wilberforce anything.”
Students and attendees can be seen in the video jumping up and cheering for the news.
According to the university, debt cleared exceeded $375,000.
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