ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Claflin University is eliminating $4.7 million in student debt for more than 700 students.
Claflin president Dr. Dwaun Warmack says the decision to forgive student debt will help remove the barrier for those who are debating on completing their education due to financial issues caused by the pandemic.
"Our students have gone through a lot the past 18 to 19 months," Dr. Warrmack said. "COVID has probably impacted them mentally, emotionally, or financially. So, we said, 'hey, what can we do to help our students?' The federal government with Cares Act 1 and 2 allocated dollars for students; We gave 100 percent to them.
The debt forgiveness will not apply to student loans but instead, account balances. $3.7 million will come from Cares Act funds. The other million dollars will come from institutional funds, which could be used for COVID protocol.
"We didn't have to do it," said Dr. Warramack. "That money was not allocated for that. We made a decision to support the decision and the need that is there."
Claflin is set to return to campus at full capacity on August 12th. One senior who is graduating this semester says this effort will allow him to save for the future.
"My account balance was set at like $1,000," expressed Zakarrius Hayes, Claflin Student. If that is wiped out from the previous semesters, then I'll feel good about not having to worry about that paying that back. What I'm going to do now since I don't have to worry about paying the thousand dollars; I'm going to save more. My parents also won't have to worry about it either."