Many prayers have been answered! Many Historically Black colleges and universities are forgiving students’ debts to relieve the financial strains the pandemic caused. Hopefully wiping out the debt owed will lead to more financial freedom in the future.

So far, 11 HBCUs are reliving debts. Black students who attend HBCU’s end up with more student loan debt than their white classmates. Many of these same Black students come from those communities that suffered from high rates of infection and financial loss during the pandemic.

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Black graduates have an average of $52,000 in student loan debt, which $25,000 more on average than the debt white students. The immense amount of debt has a long-term effect on Black students making it harder to accumulate wealth.

“These are students who have had some very difficult decisions to make, and this is a population that overall has been disproportionately impacted,” said Lodriguez Murray, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs at the United Negro College Fund. “These institutions are showing a great deal of compassion and a great deal of leadership during a time of tremendous uncertainty for their student populations.”

Additionally, Delaware State University announces that they would be canceling up to $730,655 in student debt. The money is being sourced from the American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 stimulus package passed in March.

Likewise, South Carolina State University will clear $9.8 million of student debt for more than 2,500 continuing students. “We are 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,” the university’s acting president, Alexander Conyers, stated.

There was a student loan debt crisis among Black students long before the pandemic. The initiative that HBCUs are taking for their students is a step in the right direction to address the racial wealth gap.