Students returning to Philander Smith College this fall will have last year’s outstanding balances cleared from their student accounts.
Students will also be eligible for a $ 500 credit if they show proof of covid-19 vaccination.
Little Rock Private College is using federal coronavirus relief funds and other federal supports to pay for the incentives, according to an announcement.
About 387 students have unpaid balances from the 2020-21 academic year, as well as this year’s spring semester, cleared from their accounts, university spokeswoman Olivia Goodheart said on Wednesday.
Outstanding balances totaled $ 1,485,619, Goodheart said. The historically black college enrolled 799 students as of last fall, the school’s lowest enrollment rate since 2016, according to state data.
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Roderick L. Smothers Sr., president of the college, said in a statement that the pandemic “has disproportionately affected the families of the students we serve in multiple ways,” including financially.
“It was therefore extremely important for us to remove any financial barriers to returning to our institution. Without the pressure of unpaid debt to the college, our students can return to school with one less burden,” said Smothers.
Current information on the student vaccination rate was not available on Wednesday, Goodheart said.
“There is some reluctance to get vaccinated, especially among young adults,” Goodheart said, describing the college’s new wellness credit as an incentive to get the shot.
At the college opening ceremony in May, Smothers announced that May 2021 and 2020 graduates will see their outstanding student account balances closed thanks to a $ 54,000 grant from the Jack and Jill Foundation’s GAP Fund.
Classes for the college’s fall semester begin August 16.