Sen. Ossoff Advocates For Georgia’s HBCUs in Committee Hearing to Address Burden of Student Loan Debt

Ossoff has been a champion for Georgia’s HBCUs and believes their voices are critical to conversations on the future of higher education

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday in a U.S. Senate Banking Subcommittee Hearing on the burdens caused by student loan debt, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff advocated for Georgia’s HBCUs, ensuring that the presidents of Spelman College, Morehouse College, Fort Valley State University, and Albany State University had their voices heard.

Ossoff asked the Chair of the Subcommittee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), to accept letters from the school presidents with their thoughts on how to address the student loan debt crisis and the broader issue of college affordability. She did so without objection.

Sen. Ossoff has been a consistent champion of Georgia’s HBCUs, advocating on their behalf in the U.S. Senate, including fighting to include direct grants to HBCUs as part of the American Rescue Plan. The direct grants were in the final version of the bill that was signed into law last month by President Biden. 

“Madam Chair, I would just like to enter into the record letters that I have signed by the presidents of Spelman College, Morehouse College, Fort Valley State University as well as another letter from the president of Albany State University. These are Historically Black Colleges and Universities in my home state of Georgia, and their reflections on how critical it is to make college more affordable to reduce the burden of student loan debt and tuition payments for attendees at HBCUs I think are vital for the record,” Sen. Ossoff said. 

Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, President of Spelman College; Dr. David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College; and Dr. Paul Jones, President Fort Valley State University jointly wrote: “Although student loan debt impacts the vast majority of student borrowers, the disparate impact on borrowers of color and individuals who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) must be addressed to ensure equal opportunity for all individuals. The rising cost of education and student loan payments presents a challenge to all student borrowers, and racial inequities simply exacerbate the issue for our students and institutions. We appreciate your time and attention to this important issue and look forward to working with you to create a system that promotes economic viability and equal opportunity for all individuals.”

“Considering many of our students come from lower-income households and are also first- generation students, we remain concerned about the rising debt for our students. Many of these students are strapped with loan debt well into their careers, hindering them from starting families and purchasing homes. Our students, particularly those from lower-income homes and first-generation families, face these financial challenges and are unable to remain enrolled and complete their degrees,” Albany State University President Marion Ross Fedrick wrote. “We will continue to search for ways to financially support students through college. We appreciate your support and dedication to addressing the student loan challenge.” 

Click here to view Sen. Ossoff’s remarks.

Please find the letters from the HBCU presidents here:

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