The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), in partnership with African Pride and JFM Curl Peace, has established the UNCF Wear Your Crown With Confidence Loan Forgiveness and Scholarship program to help Black students with crippling student loan debt. The program will provide $1,000,000 in financial aid debt relief over three years to current students or graduates of HBCUs and other four-year accredited universities.
According to a University of Chicago survey, one out of every two African American millennials has up to $29,000 in student loan debt, three times the average debt of other racial subgroups.
“At a moment of achievement when graduates should be feeling confident, too many students say they’re feeling overwhelmed by mounting loan debt,” says Dawn N. Thompson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of African Price, JFM Curl Peace, and Dr. Miracle’s. “With our leadership team we have brainstormed a way to liberate some of those in need, to change the trajectory of their futures.”
Eligible recipients of the new scholarship are between the ages of 18 and 35 who have taken out student loans to fund their higher education. They must currently have or have possessed a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5, graduated within five years, and have an outstanding, cumulative student loan debt in excess of 40 percent of their current annual income from all sources, or current monthly student loan repayment obligation in excess of 25 percent of their current monthly income from all sources. Standout applicants will have a strong record of service to their communities.
“For 75 years, our motto ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in,’ has remained at the forefront of everything we do,” said Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “We must continue to invest our time and money in better futures for young people around the country. Partners like African Pride and JFM Curl Peace and their house of brands are vitally important to this work and we are pleased to join with them on this initiative.”
Applications for the UNCF Wear Your Crown With Confidence Loan Forgiveness and Scholarship Program will be accepted until July 26, 2019 for the first wave. The second wave of applications will open in January 2020. The application may be accessed here.