North Carolina Central University (NCCU) cleared over $10 million in outstanding tuition and fees and waived costs for its summer session for more than 5,200 students.
NCCU allocated approximately $8 million directly to 3,832 students, covering their unpaid balances. An additional $2.4 million dollars of aid was earmarked for more than 1,450 students to cover the costs of summer session tuition and fees. Financial support aided 808 students who graduated in Spring and Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.
The university was able to assist students in clearing their balances using money from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“NCCU is committed to student success and this effort speaks to student access and success, one of four focus areas included in the university’s strategic plan,” said NCCU Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D. “Students have experienced unprecedented difficulties during pandemic and easing the financial burden of students will have a long-lasting impact.”
A fourth of the university’s 2020-2021 total enrollment received the financial assistance. Funds were prioritized for students with the most financial need.
Pew Research Center reports Americans owe about $1.7 trillion in student loans with African American students among the fastest growing categories of student loan borrowers.
“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic, including financial hardships, had a tremendous impact on academic instruction,” said David H. Jackson Jr., Ph.D., provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at NCCU. “With the funding, students will graduate with a quality education and significantly less student loan debt.”
Tahira A. Hyman, a senior nutrition and dietetics student, says the relief will help her graduate with less student loan debt than expected.
“Receiving funding for spring and summer 2021 has allowed me to continue in my college education and relieve my mother from paying thousands of dollars in college tuition,” Hyman said. “To me, that meant the world to not have the cost of my education be a burden on my parent.”
For students like Gary Robinson, support from NCCU was the difference between being burdened with student debt and being able to focus on coursework.
“Receiving assistance from NCCU made it possible to begin my studies during the pandemic without the stress of trying to find funds for tuition costs or taking out student loans,” Robinson said. “I greatly appreciate the support NCCU offers students.”