Nearly 1,200 UL students have had their college loan debt forgiven.

The university announced Tuesday that it used federal COVID-19 funding to erase $2.7 million in student debts. According to a university press release, 1,175 students benefited from the act of debt forgiveness. The payments only apply to debts owed directly to the university. They do not cover loans from banks or other private institutions.

“We care about students and their success,” Dr. DeWayne Bowie, UL’s vice president for enrollment management, said. “By eliminating balances, we’re providing students with much-needed relief that will enable them to focus on their academic journeys and move them closer to completing their degrees.”

Students who qualified for debt forgiveness were enrolled on or after March 13, 2020--just days before the state went under lockdown amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university wiped out any debts those students racked up between the Spring 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. In addition, the university also cleared outstanding balances for student who were enrolled during the Spring 2020 semester and had account balances from a prior semester.

The university is also helping other students pay their tuition and debts.

UL used other federal funding Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding to give direct grants to students enrolled during the Summer 2021 semester. That money was disbursed in June to qualified undergraduate and graduate students. Those payments ranged between $500 and $900 depending on the number of credit hours a student was enrolled.

UL officials say they plan to issue similar payments to registered students during the upcoming fall and spring semesters. The university will issue more information to students at the start of each semester.

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