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South Carolina State University is clearing the account balances of more than 2,500 continuing students who have fallen on hard times during the pandemic.
The school said the move will provide "much-needed relief" to students who were not able to resume classes because of financial hardships.
It marked the first major executive decision by the school’s acting president, Alexander Conyers.
"We are committed to providing these students with a clear path forward so they can continue their college education and graduate without the burden of financial debt caused by circumstances beyond their control," Conyers said in a statement. "Our university was founded on the tenet of providing students with access to a quality affordable education. That’s exactly what we intend to do. No student should have to sit home because they can’t afford to pay their past-due debt after having experienced the financial devastation caused by a global pandemic."
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Students began receiving aid on July 15. The vast majority, according to the school, are continuing students who have not yet registered because of past-due account balances or are students who have stopped going entirely because they couldn’t keep up with payments.
A spokesperson for the university told FOX Business that any student who had an unpaid balance now has a clean slate.
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Students impacted by financial hardship overwhelmingly praised the decision.
"This is a tremendous weight I won’t have to carry," said Romaun Myers, a junior.
Another junior, Kevyn Rice, said the decision "gives students a new opportunity at life and at having a successful education."
Student loan forgiveness has emerged in recent years as a topic of debate as more and more college graduates find themselves with slim job prospects and a mountain of student debt.
President Joe Biden campaigned on the issue, proposing to immediately cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt per borrower and forgiving all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from public colleges for people earning under $125,000 under his Build Back Better plan.
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But just over six months into his presidency, Biden has not made any meaningful moves on those promises. The president also did not include student loan forgiveness his latest federal budget proposal.
Fox Business’ Erika Giovanetti contributed to this report.
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