West Virginia State University Pays Account Balances For 3,000 Undergraduate & Graduate Students Under CARES Act

United States North America COVID-19 Higher Education News by Erudera News Aug 09, 2021

West Virginia State Univeristy

Using $816,000 from the CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund established to help students amid the COVID-19 pandemic, West Virginia State University paid off account balances for nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university paid off the amounts between March 13, 2020, and the summer semester this year, Erudera.com reports.

University Vice President and Chief of Staff Ericke S. Cage pointed out that this action had been taken in order to ease students’ financial distress, claiming that the university understands the difficulties that students and their families have been going through for the last two years.

“We did not want an unpaid balance owed to the university to be a reason that someone chose not to continue with their education,” Cage said.

As a pandemic relief, the Biden administration paused federal student loan payments in January 2021 until September this year. Nonetheless, the administration decided to extend the pause on student loan payments until January 31, 2022, taking into consideration students’ financial burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A survey conducted by the Student Debt Crisis and Savi revealed that 90 percent of students are not ready to begin loan repayments in the fall, whereas two out of three survey participants were unsure whether they will manage to pay loans until September 2022.

Similar to West Virginia, Dallas College canceled student debt that was owed to the institution for 14,000 students during 2020, also using the government’s Education Emergency Relief Fund. Following the university’s decision, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management at Dallas College, Marisa Pierce, said that with the university clearing balances, students will be assisted to achieve their goals related to education and employment.

Using the federal COVID-19 relief funds, the only historically Black college in Oklahoma, Langston University, has canceled $4.65 million in student debt accumulated last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic for more than 1,300 students. University’s President, Kent J. Smith Jr said that the institution has decided to clear account balances for students who were enrolled at any of the US universities and colleges amid the pandemic between spring 2020 and summer 2021.

Similar actions have been taken by more than 20 historically Black colleges and universities across the United States as well, clearing over $25 million in student debt.

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