Two Virginia HBCUs recently announced plans to clear student account balances using funds received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Virginia State University (VSU) and Virginia Union University (VUU) will both use CARES Act funds to discharge the unpaid balances of students enrolled in the universities during the pandemic.

“We care about our students and their academic success and want to provide them the privilege of moving forward with a zero balance,” said VSU provost and senior vice president of academic and student affairs Donald Palm in a university press release. “We believe that relieving them from these balances will provide much-needed relief that will allow our scholars to focus more intently on their academics and degree completion.” At VSU, the payoff will apply to all students who took classes between March 13, 2020, and the 2021 spring semester. It will cover remaining balances after federal, state and private awards have been applied.

Passed by Congress in March 2020, the CARES Act designated $2 trillion in stimulus funds for economic recovery from COVID-19 impacts, with $31 billion allotted for education. VSU used CARES funds to also improve the university’s air quality, acquire staff equipment, and provide stipends to students when the university closed due to Covid.

VUU announced that it will dedicate more than $6.3 million towards waiving the debt of more than 1,300 students, awarding $1.2 million to the class of 2021, $4.3 million to other undergraduate classes and $778,543 to graduate students.

“VUU is committed to helping students ease the worry of financial debt due to education loans,” said President and CEO Hakim Lucas in a press release. “These funds helped to reduce the cost of their education, which results in fewer federal and consumer loan applications and less debt.”

The Delta Chronicle is thankful that legislation has been passed to help students during these unprecedented times.

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