For Alynnda Williams, a recent graduate of Delaware State University, having her roughly $12,000 tuition bill wiped away by the school “felt like stress lifted off my shoulders, a stress lifted off my mother’s shoulders.” Students like her had some unexpected relief when many colleges (predominantly HBCUs, or historically black colleges and universities) took up the Department of Education’s suggestion that they could use the funds from the American Rescue Plan, the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress to write off student debt. Delaware State University has announced it would relieve up to $730,655 in debt for recently graduated students. Community colleges and regional public universities catering to immigrants and underserved communities have announced similar relief packages too. Institutions are also looking at ways to ease the financial burden on students after the pandemic phase, since the funds from the Rescue Plan do not apply to federal or private student loans.

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