Delaware State cancels $730,000 in student debt

Recent Delaware State graduates will have more than $3,200 of their outstanding debt canceled by the university to offset financial hardships related to COVID-19.

Delaware State University

Delaware State University's campus. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Delaware State University will cancel $730,000 in outstanding student debt, school officials announced Wednesday.

It’s estimated that students will see $3,200 of their debt canceled on average, said Antonio Boyle, DSU’s VP for strategic enrollment management.

“Too many graduates across the country will leave their schools burdened by debt, making it difficult for them to rent an apartment, cover moving costs, or otherwise prepare for their new careers or graduate school,” Boyle said. “While we know our efforts won’t help with all of their obligations, we all felt it was essential to do our part.”

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The money comes from the school’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief.

DSU president Tony Allen said the debt cancellation is designed to help these graduates get a better start to their post-college life.

“Our students don’t just come here for a quality college experience. Most are trying to change the economic trajectory of their lives for themselves, their families, and their communities,” he said. “Our responsibility is to do everything we can to put them on the path.”

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As part of that effort, Allen said the university has not raised tuition in six years.

He’s hoping state lawmakers pass legislation that would expand Delaware’s INSPIRE scholarship program to fully fund four years of tuition for eligible in-state students. Currently, the scholarship funds 50% of a student’s tuition over four years.

SB 95 passed the state Senate unanimously last month. It’s now awaiting action in the House.

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