Robert Smith Launches New Nonprofit That Aims to Ease Student Debt at HBCUs

A year ago, Robert F. Smith, a billionaire who is CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a software and technology investment firm, gave the commencement speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He stunned the graduating class with the announcement that he would pay off all their student debt, which amounted to $34 million.

Now Smith has launched a new initiative to address the student debt crisis in the Black community. The Student Freedom Initiative is a nonprofit organization established with a $50 million grant from the Fund II Foundation, a charitable organization founded by Smith. He hopes to raise another $500 million to support the effort.

The Student Freedom Initiative initially will help STEM students at 11 historically Black colleges and universities. The program will not eliminate all student debt but will offer students at these schools loans at far lower rates and with easier repayment terms.

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Yale Issues Formal Apology After Research Finds Historic Ties to Slavery

"Today, on behalf of Yale University, we recognize our university’s historical role in and associations with slavery, as well as the labor, the experiences, and the contributions of enslaved people to our university’s history, and we apologize for the ways that Yale’s leaders, over the course of our early history, participated in slavery," says Yale University President Peter Salovey, and Josh Bekenstein, senior trustee of the Yale Corporation.

Kean University Establishes New Center for Africana Studies

“This new center epitomizes the university’s commitment to equity and to serving our state, particularly our urban communities,” said Kean University president Lamont Repollet. 

Pew Research Center Provides Insight into Share of Black-Owned Businesses in the United States

Through analyzing data from the United States Census Bureau and the National Science Foundation, the Pew Research Center found that Black-owned businesses make up 3 percent of companies and earn 1 percent of gross revenue in the United States.

Martin Lemellle Appointed the Eleventh President of Grambling State University

Dr. Martin Lemelle has been serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Featured Jobs