The City University of New York announced this week that it is using federal coronavirus relief funds to write off up to $ 125 million in debt and unpaid fees for more than 50,000 students who were enrolled during the pandemic.
Any eligible student from one of CUNY’s 25 campuses who was enrolled from March of last year to the spring semester 2021 will have their unpaid debts during this period canceled under the “CUNY Comeback Program”, which has been approved by the board of directors of the school system on July 6.
“Deferred Action for the Arrival of Children (DACA) beneficiaries, other DREAMers, and students without similar documents” are also eligible to receive federal taxpayer funds, the school said.
“I see this initiative as more than good policy; it also affirms the recognition that challenges still exist for many New Yorkers, and it helps fulfill the moral imperative that is implicit in CUNY’s historic mandate to provide access to quality education for all New Yorkers. , whatever their background or their means, ”CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said this week.
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Enrollment at CUNY fell 5.1% last year as classes became completely distant and students weathered the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hardship in the lives of so many New Yorkers, and our students have been among the hardest hit,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This historic new program eliminates millions of dollars in unpaid debt, providing much-needed relief to tens of thousands of CUNY students as they work to recover from the pandemic and plan for their future. “
Students who have paid all of their tuition and fees during the pandemic are eligible for a $ 200 scholarship.
The federal government suspended student loan payments at the start of the pandemic, but that policy is expected to end at the end of September.
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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., And other leading Democrats push President Biden to extend this hiatus, as well as take executive action to write off some of the $ 1.74 trillion in student debt spread across millions of borrowers nationwide.
“These people live with a sword hanging over their heads, and with each passing day that sword is getting closer,” Senator Warren said this week. “The President of the United States can withdraw this sword. The president can prevent this pain. The president can write off $ 50,000 in student loan debt. It can write off all the debts of about 36 million Americans. “