Wilberforce University forgives student debt and fines for classes of 2020 and 2021

ajc.com

Wilberforce University announced during their spring graduation Saturday that the school is wiping out $375,000 in debt and fines owed to the school by graduates from spring 2020 through those who graduated yesterday.

School President Elfred Anthony Pinkard told the May 2021 graduates the news at the end of Saturday’s commencement. The commencement ceremony hosted the classes of 2020 and 2021.

“As these graduates begin their lives as responsible adults, we are honored to be able to give them a fresh start by relieving their student debt to the university,” Pinkard said in a release issued by the college.

The move is being paid for by scholarship funding from the United Negro College Fund, Inc., Jack and Jill, Inc., and other institutional funding, the school announced.

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Rodman Allen, a new Wilberforce graduate from Detroit, said the school’s decision to cancel his debt is a blessing. “I couldn’t believe it when he said it,” he said. “I know now God will be with me. Now I can use that money and invest it into my future.”

Wilberforce University also awarded posthumous honorary doctorate degrees to civil rights activists Fannie Lou Hamer and Medgar Evers. They also awarded a posthumous bachelor’s degree to senior William Easton who died in a car accident in his hometown in Florida, the university said. Easton’s parents attended commencement and accepted his degree.

166 students graduated from Wilberforce University Saturday. The ceremony took place at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Gaston Lewis Gymnasium at the Alumni Multiplex.