A university that was created during the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era to enhance literacy among Black freedmen has announced it’s eliminating a financial barrier for the current generation of students.
South Carolina’s Clinton College will waive tuition for full-time students, according to an announcement from the 13th president of the Historically Black College.
Clinton College breaks down barriers to education
“For all enrolled students in the 2021-2022 academic year, Clinton College is going to offer you free tuition,” President Lester A. McCorn said in a video released on August 5.
The announcement comes after the HBCU had already announced tuition would be cut in half for the Fall 2021 semester.
“If you are vaccinated, you can live on campus. You’ll have to pay room and board, but your tuition will be covered,” President McCorn, added.
Tuition will also be free for the school year for those who are unvaccinated and taking online classes. It’s unclear whether the gift will extend to future academic school years. Still, it represents a much appreciated surprise for new and returning students.
Student loan debt a drag on Black graduate success
African-American college students are more likely to require loans to attend classes. Moreover, Black graduates are more likely to have greater student loan debt than their non-Black peers.
In fact, Black graduates on average owe $7,400 more in student loan debt than their White peers, according to research from the Brookings Institution.
To make matters worse, when factoring in interest rates, Black borrowers owe roughly twice as much as White borrowers. The research indicates the financial barriers to education make it disproportionately more difficult for Black graduates to succeed after receiving their education.
High-profile legislators like U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have called on President Biden to forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt for all Americans. It’s a proposal that would especially ease the burden on Black borrowers. Yet, the president has continued to deny he has the authority to make that decision.
Meanwhile, University leaders like Clinton College are taking matters into their own hands.
“Oh, and one more thing. Each full time student will get a free Microsoft surface laptop,” President McCorn added. “We want to make sure that you can perform with excellence without an excuse.”
For more information, President McCorn instructed interested students and parents to visit the university’s website at https://www.clintoncollege.edu/.