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Message from Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D., President

August 26, 2022

Dear NSU Community,

On Wednesday, August 24, 2022, President Biden took executive action to enact wide-scale student loan forgiveness. The U.S. Department of Education is carrying out the plan, which will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their annual individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households.

We at Norfolk State University applaud all of these actions. This is great news for our Spartan graduates, current Spartans, and future Spartans, especially since the student debt burden has fallen disproportionately on Black students and low-income families. This is also why Norfolk State has steadfastly sought to offer one of the most affordable college educations in Virginia, as well as the nation. We understand the crippling effect of student debt, and we work hard to provide as much financial support to our students as we possibly can.

If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation. If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you would be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation.

In addition to this action, student loan repayments have been paused until the end of the year, and the Department of Education is proposing a new income-driven repayment plan that would protect low-income borrowers from making payments of more than 5% of their discretionary income. This proposal would cut the average student loan repayment rate by half and would lower current and future annual payments by more than $1,000.

In the coming weeks, more information will be made available to student loan borrowers. I urge you to subscribe for notifications at Enter your email address and click the box for Federal Student Loan Borrower Updates. Please make sure you are informed of your rights and benefits and take full advantage of these opportunities.

According to the Department of Education, “if all borrowers claim the relief they are entitled to, these actions will…”

  • Provide relief to up to 43 million borrowers, including canceling the full remaining balance for roughly 20 million borrowers.
  • Target relief dollars to low- and middle-income borrowers. The Department of Education estimates that, among borrowers who are no longer in school, nearly 90% of relief dollars will go to those earning less than $75,000 a year. No individual making more than $125,000 or household making more than $250,000 – the top 5% of incomes in the United States – will receive relief.
  • Help borrowers of all ages. The Department of Education estimates that, among borrowers who are eligible for relief, 21% are 25 years and under and 44% are ages 26-39. More than a third are borrowers aged 40 and up, including 5% of borrowers who are senior citizens.
  • Advance racial equity. By targeting relief to borrowers with the highest economic need, the Administration’s actions are likely to help narrow the racial wealth gap. Black students are more likely to have to borrow for school and more likely to take out larger loans. Black borrowers are twice as likely to have received Pell Grants compared to their white peers. Other borrowers of color are also more likely than their peers to receive Pell Grants. That is why an Urban Institute study found that debt forgiveness programs targeting those who received Pell Grants while in college will advance racial equity.

As we await more information and details from the Department of Education, please familiarize yourself with these plans using the White House Fact Sheet.

And, as always, Behold the Green and Gold.

Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D., President