The nation’s first HBCU will clear all outstanding balances dating back to spring 2020.
In light of the financial and emotional hardships that students and their families have experienced because of the coronavirus pandemic, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania has announced that it will forgive student balances from the spring 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.
The university will use funds it received through the federal stimulus package to settle those accounts. This one-time action is particularly important, especially considering that over 70% of Cheyney’s students are Pell Grant recipients.
“Our students have gone through a lot over the past 18 months, and we want to do whatever we can to lighten the burden. The last thing we would wish to see is their education at Cheyney interrupted because of issues related to the pandemic,” said President Aaron A. Walton. “Our protocols have kept our campus safe throughout this ordeal, and now with this financial weight lifted from our students, we look forward to seeing them on campus in the upcoming fall semester with their minds focused on their studies, not their debt.”
Clearing student accounts is the latest example of Cheyney positively impacting its students throughout the pandemic. During the spring 2020 semester when the university switched to remote instruction, residential students were given the option of staying on campus or returning home for the remainder of the semester.
This stands in stark contrast to almost every other U.S. college, which closed their dormitories and required almost all students to return home.
Cheyney also refunded a portion of student fees for that same semester. Further, the university provided federally funded emergency student financial aid grants to Cheyney students in spring 2020 and spring 2021.
Even with students having an on-campus presence throughout the pandemic and in-person learning taking place since fall 2020, Cheyney has recorded only ten known COVID cases among its student body.