Anonymous Donor Pays Off College Students’ Debt

By Erika Hanson | 2 months ago

Wiley College

There may be no purer act of kindness than of those anonymous individuals that aid others. Every year, anonymous donors take to individual causes to make a difference. Sometimes, that’s in the form of paying off layaways, which tends to pop up all over headlines at Christmas time. Other times, these individuals turn their attention to burdened students graduating college with hefty student loan debt. This is exactly what happened for this year’s graduating class at Wiley College in Texas, where an anonymous donor paid off the class’s full tab of student loan balances.

The Associated Press reported on May 8th that students graduating from Wiley College – a Historically Black college and university (HBCU) – were told that their student loan balances had been paid in their entirety by an anonymous benefactor. The announcement came from the East Texas college’s president during a commencement speech. Over 100 students were in attendance when the joyous news came. 

Wiley College is a private, Christian HBCU in Eastern Texas. According to Niche, the small institution for Higher Ed enrolls over 500 graduate students in popular majors like Police and Criminal Science, Business, and Nonprofit and Public Management. In a news release on the college’s official site, the school estimated that the total of balances paid culminated to around $300,000. Furthermore, the school stated that this generous donation would escalate the graduating classes’ means to attain a “path to success” as they seek to join America’s workforce by giving them a head start in financials. 

Wiley College

The act bestowed to Wiley College graduates comes at a time when many headlines throughout the news are focused on impeding student loan debt throughout the nation. As of April, Nerdwallet reported that the total U.S student loan debt owed by all Americans sits around $1.75 trillion. Furthermore, the average household in America that owes student loan debt owes around $57,000. The debt balance is ominous to many, as many reports claim that over half of all debtors will be unable to make payments to their student loan balances come this September when the federal student loan pause expires. 

The donations to Wiley College graduates may seem like a rare act only heard of before in movies like Pay It Forward, but it is actually a common practice. While not necessarily anonymous, many organizations, groups, and individuals offer similar means to pay off students’ college debt. Even celebrities like Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, and Chrissy Teigen have been known to pay off onerous debts to students across America.

Wiley College

At a time when education for both public schools and higher Ed is under such strong opposition and criticism, an anonymous act of kindness can be a reminder of better days ahead. The cost to attain a college degree is perpetually increasing, and every little penny can help. While institutions like Wiley College continue to increase efforts to make colleges more affordable and accessible to everyone, these types of donations also show a growing need to discuss the rising costs to attain higher education degrees amid a world in which their worthiness is being questioned like never before.