‘You No Longer Have a Balance’

It is a sad but true fact that the celebration and the sense of accomplishment that comes with graduating from college often also means the realization that student loans and debt have not magically disappeared.

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But for the 2022 Wiley College Class, it looks like this is exactly what happened when an anonymous donor cleared the balances of the graduate class.

Wiley, a historically black university located in Marshall, Texas, hosted its 133rd inaugural call over the weekend, where more than 100 students were ready to take to the stage and earn their diplomas.

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Graduates didn’t know they would receive much more than just the degree.

“You’re debt-free, you don’t owe a penny to the university,” Hermon J. Felton, president and CEO of Wiley College, told graduates in a surprise announcement during the ceremony. “It simply came to our notice then it had a balance. You no longer have balance. “

Felton’s words were greeted with encouragement and tears by the graduating class and their loved ones, as it was revealed that the student balances were cleared by an anonymous donor.

Typical tuition, including lodging and food, costs Wiley $ 17,500 per student, but the university reported that due to pandemic-related challenges, many were unable to pay balances.

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“Our commitment to our students goes beyond their time while they are enrolled. We are constantly communicating with donors to help students in this way so that they can begin their post-university experience with less debt, “Felton said in a statement on behalf of the institution.” We are grateful for this anonymous donor who will help. students to pay off their balances at Wiley College and it will help us achieve the institutional goals of graduating our students with little or no debt. “

The university estimates that the total balance due for the 2022 class was about $ 300,000.

HBCUs (especially private ones, such as Wiley College) depend heavily on donations and gifts from alumni and other donors, as graduates of these universities are more likely to suffer a generational wealth gap.

“Even for families where parents have a college degree and have had a stable job, as they started later to generate wealth, they can do less for the next generation,” said Morehouse College President David A. Thomas. US News and World Report. “His children, his nephews, etc. The effects are spreading across communities. Positive for the white community and very negative for the black community. “

According to data from College Tuition Compare, the average tuition (and fees) for HBCU graduates is about $ 15,043 for out-of-state students, with 50 of the country’s HBCUs being public and 51 they are private.

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