DOVER — Delaware State University announced Wednesday that it will cancel up to $730,655 in debt for recently graduated students who have faced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Antonio Boyle, DSU’s vice president for strategic enrollment management, estimated that the average eligible student will qualify for about $3,276 in debt relief, according to a news release.
“Too many graduates across the country will leave their schools burdened by debt, making it difficult for them to rent an apartment, cover moving costs, or otherwise prepare for their new careers or graduate school,” he said.
“While we know our efforts won’t help with all of their obligations, we all felt it was essential to do our part.”
Mr. Boyle noted that 87% of DSU graduates — a number above the national average — are either entering their career of choice or graduate school within six months of commencement.
The funds necessary to cancel these students’ debt became available through the federal government’s American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief.
University President Dr. Tony Allen explained the significance of debt-relief action, saying, “Our students don’t just come here for a quality college experience. Most are trying to change the economic trajectory of their lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.
“Our responsibility is to do everything we can to put them on the path.”
Dr. Allen said that such debt reduction is consistent with DSU initiatives to keep student finances manageable.
“We haven’t raised our tuition in over six years; we issue every incoming student an iPad or a MacBook; we are replacing traditional textbooks with less expensive digital editions, and our Early College High School saves the average family of nearly $50,000 in college expenses,” he said.
Last year, the annual U.S. News & World Report assessment of America’s top colleges listed DSU among the top 1% in social mobility, defined as “enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students.”
According to Dr. Devona Williams, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, “Great universities have to go a step beyond ordinary. This is that kind of moment for us.”