Two Missouri universities using pandemic funds to cancel student debt


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Harris-Stowe University in St. Louis says it is using federal pandemic relief funds to cancel student debts from the previous academic year. Harris-Stowe, one of the two historically Black universities in Missouri, said it erased about $330,000 in debt, averaging about $1,076 per student.

LaTonia Collins Smith, Harris-Stowe’s interim president, said the coronavirus pandemic created so much debt for students that the university had low enrollment this fall. She said many students lost their jobs because of COVID-19 and could not pay balances for previous years.

Lincoln University, Missouri’s other historically Black university, announced it July that was using pandemic funds to forgive about $1.5 million in student debt.

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