College Experts Are Hoping Robert F. Smith's Donation Will Start A Trend
The student debt crisis will not fix itself.
Higher education experts are hoping billionaire Robert F. Smith's generous donation to nearly 400 Morehouse graduates creates a ripple effect around the nation.
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According to a report from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Black students tend to procure the most student debt compared to their white counterparts. Former Spelman College President Beverly Tatum told the paper more people must help students like Smith.
Robert F. Smith is a tech investor and founder of Vista Equity Partners. He is considered to be the richest Black person in the nation with a net worth of nearly $6 billion. However, his $40 million grant helping the recent graduating class is just a drop of water compared to the $1.5 trillion student debt total.“I hope [Smith] starts off a trend,” Tatum said Monday.
Two-thirds of Morehouse College students received financial aid from the federal government. Many graduate with an estimated $100,000 in debt. At the start of the year, the tech businessman gave the college $1.5 million in funds for scholarships and a park on campus in January.
Yasmin Farahi, policy counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending, told the AJC the student debt crisis affects parents and family members as well grads.
"It’s also worth recognizing the impact it has on the lives of their family members who have co-signed on these loans or would otherwise be supporting these graduates as they worked to get out from under their student debt. Student loan debt is an intergenerational problem.”
On Sunday, Smith supporters called out media mogul Oprah Winfrey for seemingly not doing enough. She clapped back writing, "@spiritualceo1111already paid 13m in scholarships. Have put over 400 men thru @morehouse1867."
Black celebrities and wealthy individuals giving back isn't a new phenomenon. People like Kevin Hart, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Stormzy and countless others have given back. However, there is still more that needs to be done.