Billionaire: Hey Parents, I’m Paying Your Student Loans Too



The best graduation present just got better.

Here’s what you need to know.

Pay Off Student Loans

Billionaire Robert Smith announced in May the ultimate graduation gift: a grant to pay off student loan debt for all Morehouse graduates in the Class of 2019. That gift just got bigger because now Smith will also pay for Parent PLUS Loans, which are federal student loans that parents borrow to help fund their children’s higher education.

Smith’s gift totals $34 million and will benefit more than 400 students, parents and guardians. The gift will be part of the Morehouse Student Success Program, a scholarship, loan debt, research and educational initiative to help reduce student loan debt. The program aims to reduce or eliminate student loan debt for Morehouse students and their parents. On average, according to Morehouse, its students graduate with between $35,000 and $40,000 of student loan debt. The student loan debt repayment is expected to be completed by Spring 2020.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith said at this spring’s Morehouse graduation ceremony. “This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans…I know my class will make sure they pay this forward…and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community.”

“This liberation gift from Robert Smiththe first of its kind to be announced at a graduation in higher educationwill be life-changing for our new Morehouse Men and their families,” said David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College. “It is our hope that our graduates will use their newfound financial freedom to pursue their career goals, to lead and serve the community, and to remember the spirit of the gift given to them by paying it forward to support the education of future classes of Morehouse Men.”

Smith is the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm focused on software, data and technology

Student Loan Debt Statistics

The latest student loan debt statistics show that there are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. According to personal finance site Make Lemonade, student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans.

What if you didn’t graduate Morehouse in 2019?

If you’re like many people who have student loans, didn’t graduate from Morehouse in 2019 and can’t take advantage of this remarkable gift, then it’s time to take control of your student loans.

There are four primary ways to manage and repay your student loans. Make sure you understand all your options.

This student loan quiz takes less than one minute to complete and provides you with a free, customized student loan repayment plan.

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