Billionaire Shocks Morehouse Graduates With Pledge To Pay Student Debts

Robert Smith
(Photo: REUTERS/David Moody )

Robert Smith was the guest speaker at the Morehouse College graduation and the class of 2019 was overwhelmed when the billionaire pledged to pay off their student loans. With his announcement, almost 400 students will be free from the burden of paying their debt after getting their diplomas.

According to FOX Business, the billionaire businessman is the chief executive officer and founder of Vista Equity Partners. He attended the Morehouse College's graduation ceremony the past weekend and suddenly made an announcement that he will be setting up a grant so that all the graduates who still have student loans to pay will be freed from debt.

"On behalf of the eight generations of my family that has been in this country, we're gonna put a little fuel in your bus. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans," Smith said during his speech. "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."

As per ABC News, the student loans of the Class of 2019 is worth $40 million and Smith will pay everything as a gift to the graduates. The school is an all-black all-male college that is why the college is close to the heart of the billionaire.

The news outlet stated that the 56-year-old Mr. Smith graduated from Cornell University and Columbia University Business School and he received an honorary degree from Morehouse during Sunday's commencement ceremony.

It was learned that he also donated $1.5 million to the school early this year and the fund was meant for the construction of school park and the Robert Frederick Smith Scholars Program.

In any case, the student loans of each of the graduating class are said to amount to at least $30,000 and most of the students cannot really afford to pay back their loans thus Robert Smith's pledge brought tears to the eyes of students and their parents.

Meanwhile, Morehouse College's President David Anthony Thomas told the media that he was as surprised an everyone else when Smith offered to pay the students' debt. He admitted that in his three decades of working in the college administration, he has never witnessed anything like this before.   

"To remove that burden allows them to start this phase of their lives with so much more potential than they ever had when they sat down this morning because they can now do anything they want to do and nothing because they have to pay that debt," Thomas stated.

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