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Johnson C. Smith University to pay off $300K in outstanding balances for many students enrolled during pandemic

University has provided nearly $6.5 million to assist students financially since March 2020
University has provided nearly $6.5 million to assist students financially since March 2020
University has provided nearly $6.5 million to assist students financially since March 2020(WBTV file (custom credit) | WBTV file)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Johnson C. Smith University says it will pay off any outstanding balances owed to the institution for students enrolled between March 2020 through June 2021.

Despite assistance with tuition and other expenses provided by the CARES Act, money from the President’s Gap Scholarship Fund and other financial aid, officials say some students are burdened with debt because of student loans and balances owed to the University.

“After careful consideration of how to provide even more assistance for students to continue their education in the face of financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the University has decided to use a portion of its CARES Act funding to retire the balances of students who currently have balances on their accounts,” a press release read.

The total amount of debt to be canceled is $300,000. As of Thursday, JCSU has provided nearly $6.5 million to students in direct funding and student debt relief.

University officials say they strive to develop personalized financial aid packages that minimize the unpaid balances on accounts for each student by capping the amount that can be unpaid at the end of each semester.

Because University policy keeps unpaid balances low, officials say students graduate without a high amount of debt owed to the University, which helps to minimize the total amount of student debt they are faced with paying back as they begin life after college.

Students who are eligible to have their University balances retired will be notified by the Office of Business and Finance this week.

“The COVID-19 pandemic required a quick pivot to remote learning in March 2020, and Johnson C. Smith University has worked in partnership with our students and families to help ensure the pandemic and its economic impact do not derail their dreams of earning a college degree.The generosity of alumni and donors allowed us to provide additional scholarship funds and funding to purchase technology to facilitate remote learning. Funds from the CARES Act provided $2,500 directly to returning students and $2,000 to new students in fall 2020 in additional financial aid. Also, all enrolled students received Student Emergency Funds in May 2020 and February 2021 to assist with needs that resulted from hardships caused COVID-19,” the press release read.

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