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Billionaire pays off Morehouse college student loans

Rogue Valley

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Morehouse College Graduates’ Student Loans to Be Paid Off by Billionaire

Mr. Smith also gifted the school with scholarship grants earlier this year.


Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith.

5/19/19
The 396 young men began the day as students in caps and gowns, ready to graduate from Morehouse College — full of hope, but burdened in most cases with the debts that financed their education. Then their commencement speaker went off-script with an extraordinary pledge: the newly minted alumni of the historically black college in Atlanta would go forth into the world student debt-free. Robert F. Smith, the billionaire investor who founded Vista Equity Partners and became the richest black man in America, told the crowd that he and his family would pay off the entire graduating class’s student debt, freeing them to begin their next chapter, whether it was a master’s program, a position with Teach for America or an internship at Goldman Sachs, without loan payments to worry about.

The announcement came at a time of growing calls across the country to do something about the mounting burden of student loan debt, which has more than doubled in the past decade. “We’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” Mr. Smith, dressed in academic regalia to receive an honorary doctorate, said near the end of his address on Sunday at the school’s 135th commencement service. He turned to Morehouse alumni in attendance and abruptly issued a challenge. “This is my class, 2019,” he said, personally claiming the graduating seniors as his own. “And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.” It seemed to take a moment for the immensity of what he had promised to sink in. Then the place erupted, as the senior class, all male and mostly African-American, shook hands and hugged one another in glee.
A life-changing event. Now these grads can marry, buy a house, continue with school, do anything without crippling student loan payments due every month.

Related: Who Is Robert F. Smith, the Man Paying Off Morehouse Graduates’ Loans?
 

JC Callender

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Pretty cool!

Also, I don't know if most people know about this, from the Gates Foundation:

$1 billion over 20 years to establish the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program, which will support promising minority students through college and some kinds of graduate school.
 

OldFatGuy

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A man to be admired for his generosity, putting his money where his mouth is. A Just Man.
 

JANFU

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Morehouse College Graduates’ Student Loans to Be Paid Off by Billionaire

Mr. Smith also gifted the school with scholarship grants earlier this year.


Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith.



A life-changing event. Now these grads can marry, buy a house, continue with school, do anything without crippling student loan payments due every month.

Related: Who Is Robert F. Smith, the Man Paying Off Morehouse Graduates’ Loans?
Was listening to the news before myself and wife knew what happened
Watched the interviews of those that had their debt paid off
1 was a fellow, spoke that he wanted to pay his loans off in a year, stage 2 was helping his mother. He stated that stage 1 was done, on to stage 2, and he had 7 brothers
 

HumblePi

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This is so awesome. I wish more billionaires would follow his example and pay it forward.
 

AmNat

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Pretty cool!

Also, I don't know if most people know about this, from the Gates Foundation:

$1 billion over 20 years to establish the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program, which will support promising minority students through college and some kinds of graduate school.
And all of the students who have the wrong skin color are SOL.
 

AmNat

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Oh, look who brings race into this...:roll
It’s a racially restricted scholarship. The Gates Foundation brought race into it by including a racial restriction on who could get it.
 

gulfman

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If Mr Smith has that much money to throw around its obvious he isn't paying enough taxes.Lets see his tax returns for the last 10 years
 

AmNat

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Its a historically black college.

Jealousy is not a good look.
So it would okay to have a whites-only scholarship at a historically white university (i.e. most of them)?
 

TheEconomist

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So it would okay to have a whites-only scholarship at a historically white university (i.e. most of them)?
On one hand, it is true the justification for those criteria is to counteract what presumably is ethnic discrimination, either at the level of the individual or the society. In this sense, it might be considered racist to single out minority groups for privileges (or sometimes even for disadvantages as in the SAT score evaluation procedure of some universities). However, you have to take into account that information, knowledge, and judgment aren't free. If your point is to help people who face uniquely difficult circumstances, you certainly would like to single out people who face challenges related to their financial history, that of their parent, the possibility of discriminatory attitudes by people in a position of authority, or even the disadvantages of certain cultures in fostering the right habits and attitudes to go through what tends to bring financial freedom in urban areas, just to name a few.

The problem is that searching for who needs the most help and who faces the worst injustices is costly and it diverts resources away from helping people. If you wish to use the bulk of it to make some good and not squander it all on the decision process, you'll need to stop short of perfection and implement a reasonable, albeit imperfect plan. Black people, for example, tend to be poorer and tend to come from less favorable social environments. It is not entirely silly to use a coarse filter like that, even if it is obviously unfair to at least a handful of white students who grew up in tough circumstances as well. Ideally, personal circumstances should matter and the color of your skin shouldn't. But the reality of those choices is that you can quickly filter for variables that are hard to capture like aspects of one's culture by singling out the color of their skin, or their first language.


My real problem with affirmative-action-like policies or these kinds of criteria is more with the general underlying attitude. I have an issue with the belief that the western world is a morally bankrupt civilization which oppresses minorities systematically for the greater benefit of straight, white, Christian men... You really need an intellectual to make such claims in the face of the advances this "morally bankrupt" and "oppressive" civilization has brought to the world, saving billions of lives in the process at the same time it made them longer and more comfortable. As far as I am concerned, if the argument is "social justice," your concerns would be somewhat correct. However, irrespective the dispute over the underlying motivation, the fact of the matter is that donations which really end up making a great impact in the lives of poor people and helps them get out of poverty is a good thing. That's the part which matters the most.
 
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