Making college more affordable for HBCU students

EFI lends support to Robert Smith's new Student Freedom Initiative which will provide financial support to students at 11 HBCUs.

June 24, 2020

Making college more affordable for HBCU students

Robert Smith, who famously paid the student debt of the Morehouse College graduating Class of 2019, announced a new initiative that will provide financing to STEM students at 11 HBCUs yesterday in an interview for the Time100 series. The Student Freedom Initiative will establish a sustainable “pay it forward” model of student financing according to Smith, founder, chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners.

The Education Finance Institute (EFI) has partnered, along with the United Negro College Fund and Jain Family Institute, to support Robert Smith’s vision and the launch of the Student Freedom Initiative by lending expertise to the effort. The Student Freedom Initiative’s Board of Directors includes Professor Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard, Michael Lomax of the United Negro College Fund, Linda Wilson of Fund II Foundation, Robert Jain of the Jain Family Institute and Jim Runcie of the Education Finance Institute.

“Supporting the Student Freedom Initiative aligns with our mission to build student-centered and progressive solutions that make college affordable and reduce the negative long-term economic impact of student loan debt,” Runcie noted of the partnership. “At this critical moment, an investment in students at HBCUs, which have been powerful engines for social mobility, is an important measure for combating structural inequities and advancing social justice,” he added.