- Howard University turned to its alumni in a recent fundraising appeal for donations that would directly pay off students’ debt, allowing them to participate in their graduation ceremonies.
- The Washington Post reports 180 seniors in the class of 2015 owed a combined $380,000, $160,000 of which has already been paid off in the couple of weeks since the appeal.
- Howard students who do not pay off their debts by graduation cannot get their diploma but they are still considered graduates for the university’s records and for future work purposes, according to The Washington Post.
Many colleges and universities require students to pay their tuition bills in full at the start of the semester. Others let them pay a portion at the start with the remainder due by mid-term. The Washington Post reports Howard changed its policy in response to its students’ struggling finances during the recession, giving them more leeway to make payments. Howard University charges about $23,000 per year in tuition, an amount it says is half the actual cost of educating each student. Howard has been under fairly significant financial strain in recent years, repeatedly cutting staff to fill budget holes.