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Photo: Pat Crowe Ii/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Delaware State University announced this week that it will cancel more than $730,000 in student debt for recent graduates who struggled financially during the pandemic.

The big picture: DSU — an historically Black university — used stimulus funds it received from President Biden's American Rescue Plan. The Education Department updated guidance in March allowing institutions to use that money for different needs, including cancelling some student debt, Forbes reports.

  • Over 220 students were eligible to receive that aid and they each received approximately $3,200 in relief.

What they're saying: "Too many graduates across the country will leave their schools burdened by debt, making it difficult for them to rent an apartment, cover moving costs, or otherwise prepare for their new careers or graduate school," said Antonio Boyle, a vice president for the university.

  • "While we know our efforts won’t help with all of their obligations, we all felt it was essential to do our part."

Go deeper

HBCUs' identity crisis

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are seeing a new wave of substantial donations and interest from big-name talent, but the attention has also highlighted questions of cultural identity.

Why it matters: In the past decade, flagging enrollment at HBCUs, founded to offer Black people access to higher education during the slavery era, has led schools to actively recruit non-Black students.

Updated Aug 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Colleges crack down on unvaccinated students as campuses reopen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Colleges and universities are welcoming students to campus against the backdrop of a nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases largely driven by the Delta variant — posing questions about how best to reopen campuses safely.

Driving the news: Some schools are turning to disciplinary actions — through fees or, in one case, suspending internet access — as a way to promote strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. Others, however, are giving away prizes in an effort to incentivize students to get vaccinated.

The community college lifeline to people of color

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Yashana Rivera thought a rough freshman year 10 years ago had brought her college days to an end. But a community college restored her confidence and provided the means to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse.

Why it matters: As college tuition and application fees skyrocket, community colleges offer working-class students, immigrants and students of color like Rivera a more affordable, flexible path to middle-class careers.