At Fayetteville State University (FSU), leaders recently utilized pandemic funding to clear the debt of all students who attended the university at any point during the pandemic. Any student with a past due balance was cleared. Students attending the FSU from fall 2019 to spring 2021 now have zero balances.
The University utilized funding from The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), part of the American Rescue Plan signed into law on March 11 that provided $39.6 billion to institutions of higher education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In alignment with the UNC System’s focus on access and affordability, we leveraged this funding to meet the needs of our students and reduce student debt. As a result, 1442 FSU students are entering into fall 2021, completely university debt-free. We paid $1,653,959 to delete all past-due debt of students,” said Carlton E. Spellman, vice chancellor for Business and Finance.
FSU also used some of the HEERF III funds to offer free classes to 1,400 students via 30-60-90 Summer School program. The program gives undergraduate students who are falling behind an opportunity to close learning gaps by earning three to seven credits in summer school. The goal of this program is to break up the four-year journey for undergraduates into yearly targets. The university found that, if an undergrad can complete 30 credits toward graduation in an academic year, it dramatically improves their chance of graduating on time.
“Student success is one of my priorities,” said Chancellor Darrell T. Allison. “On this Independence Day weekend, it gives me no greater joy than to know we have been able to assist in our students’ financial independence by completely wiping the slate clean of their university debt.”