Robert F. Smith, the billionaire who famously stated that he would pay off the student loans of Morehouse’s graduating class of 2019.
At the time of the announcement, he shared that he would pay for the debts that the students themselves had incurred.
Now, according to Blavity, Smith has vowed to cover the debt the parents took on to help pay for their children’s education as well.
In a letter sent to parents on Friday, a Morehouse spokesperson said that Smith’s $34 Million donation to the students of Morehouse will also cover the loans parents took out in their behalf.
The gift will cover the educational expenses of about 400 students.
In a statement, Morehouse said that 70 percent of it students took out loans in order to pay for school. The average student graduates with $40,000 in debt.
Morehouse president David Thomas said, “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.”
In addition to the gift for the class of 2019, Smith is also creating the Student Success Program, designed to reduce the adverse effects of significant student loan debt of Morehouse students and alumni through donations to entire classes and individuals.
So there’s more to come.
Smith, the richest Black man in America, with a fortune of nearly $6 billion, has spent decades donating millions to schools and charities.
In 2016, he donated $50 million to Cornell University and signed a Giving Pledge in 2017, vowing to give away half of his wealth along with Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates.
During his commencement speech, Smith said, “Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward. I want my class to look at these (alumni) — these beautiful Morehouse brothers — and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward, because we are enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream.”
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