Not even Morehouse knew the announcement would come.
Robert F. Smith, a man richer than Oprah Winfrey, addressed the class of the college in 2019 and made a grand gesture directly from the television book of the television mogul.  "My family will provide a scholarship to get rid of your student loans," he said on Sunday morning, bringing the approximately 400 students in caps and robes to their feet.
"This is my class," he said. 19659005] In January, Mr. Smith, a billionaire, donated $ 1.5 million to college to fund scholarships for students and a new campus park. At his graduation on Sunday he received an honorary title.
The value of the new gift is unclear due to the varying amounts students owe. However, the money is being paid out through Morehouse College and applies to loans that directly give students their college education, "said a representative from Mr. Smith. Since the Morehouse administrators were not informed of Mr. Smith's plans prior to the ceremony, details of the distribution of the money were not immediately available.
Mr. Smith founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 as a private equity titan.
After making a fortune on software, Forbes named him the nation's richest African American. According to the financial magazine, Smith's estimated net assets amount to $ 5 billion, which makes him richer than Ms. Winfrey, who previously held the title of the richest black person.
Mr. According to Vista Equity Partners, Smith studied chemical engineering at Cornell University and finance and marketing at Columbia Business School.
In recent years, Mr. Smith has made several high-profile philanthropic gifts. He founded the Fund II Foundation, whose goal is to preserve the African-American experience. He is also the only African American to sign the Giving Pledge. Cornell named his chemical and biomolecular engineering school after announcing a $ 50 million gift.
The Sunday announcement came amid growing demands for a solution to the burdensome student loan problem in the United States, which has more than doubled in the last decade.
Over the last 20 years, average tuition and tuition fees at private four-year colleges have increased 58 percent after inflation, while tuition fees at four-year public high schools have actually increased by more than 100 percent. After investigations by the College Board.
According to the federal government, the average student loan debt of the federal government is $ 32,000. The standard repayment plan for federal student loans is up to 10 years, but most students, according to research, take much longer to repay their balance.
For students in Morehouse, a purely male, historically black college in Atlanta, attending costs about $ 48,500 a year. This could change especially in the unexplained years after graduation.
Tonga Releford, whose son Charles Releford III of the 2019 Morehouse class estimated that her son had loans totaling approximately $ 70,000.
"I feel like it's Mother's Day again," she said.