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Two Oklahoma Higher Ed Institutions Wiping Student Debt With COVID Relief Funds

Langston University

Two Oklahoma higher educational institutions are wiping student debt.

Oklahoma's only historically Black college announced Friday morning it is cancelling all outstanding charges its students incurred during the coronavirus pandemic.

Langston University will use $4.6 million of federal funds to cancel out debt its students incurred during the pandemic. That includes students enrolled in any semester between Spring 2020 and Summer 2021.

In a letter to students announcing the move, President Kent Smith Jr. said he's proud of the work students have put in despite the coronavirus. He said using an influx of higher education relief dollars to ease financial burdens seemed like the right thing to do.

"This will provide our students with support to fully focus on academics and further support them in their journey to graduation and a successful career," Smith said.

On Tuesday, Tulsa Community College announced it is also using roughly $4 million of its COVID relief money to pay off students' debt.

A school survey found that 41 percent of TCC students are struggling to financially pay for college

"We understand our students are struggling, and we are here to help them. Using the federal dollars in this way is a holistic approach for all our students, whether they are currently attending or attended at some point since Spring 2020," said Eileen Kenney, associate vice president of enrollment and retention.

TCC said they have begun to contact students with outstanding debt who were enrolled after March 2020 that their debt to TCC has been wiped clean.

That allows those students to continue their education. More than 5,000 students are eligible for debt relief, and the school will review their accounts and award funds automatically.

Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
Nyk Daniels is KGOU’s Morning Edition host.
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