College Forgives Nearly $4M in Student Debt

Nearly $4 million in student debt has been forgiven, according to Dr. Mauntra Staley Jones, president.

OCCC’s new president said the school has used federal COVID-19 relief funds for its Fresh Start Initiative, which she said effects more than 4,500 OCCC students.

“The pandemic affected our students and their families in various ways, and we recognize that many are still facing hardships in the aftermath,” Dr. Jones said.

“OCCC is an institution of new beginnings and this initiative truly gives our students a fresh start.

“We hope this clears the way for them to continue their educational journey in the fall.”

OCCC has already distributed about $17 million from the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants.

Even after the distribution of those grants, thousands of OCCC students continued to owe tuition and fees incurred during the pandemic, a statement said.

The Fresh Start Initiative applies to more than  4,500 students enrolled during any semester between Spring 2020 and Spring 2022 who had an outstanding OCCC student account balance as of July 15 from any of those semesters, a news release said.

The total debt cleared for the initiative was nearly $4 million.

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