Anonymous donor pays off combined school debt for Texas college graduates

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


More than 100 recent graduates of Wiley College in east Texas have had their school debt wiped out by an anonymous donor.

According to a press release from the historically black college, the combined debt of the new graduates came to roughly $300,000.

“You are debt-free. You do not owe the college a penny,” the school’s president and CEO Dr. Herman Felton Jr. told the assembled graduates at last week’s 133rd commencement ceremony. The news was met by cheers and applause from the crowd. 

“Our commitment to our students goes beyond their time while they are enrolled,” Felton said in the release, noting that the school continually works with donors to help students graduate with less debt. 

“We are grateful for this anonymous donor who will assist the students in paying off their balances to Wiley College and help us achieve institutional goals of graduating our students with little to no debt,” Felton said, adding, adding that the news “is a great way to end the semester and start the celebration of 150 years of the College’s contributions to the world.”

According to the release, the private school’s tuition, room and board, and other fees total $17,500 per student. 

This act of benevolence is not the first time an entire graduating class discovered that their college debts would be paid off. In 2019, billionaire Robert Smith delivered a commencement speech at another HBCU, Morehouse College, where he told graduates he had taken on all of their student debt totaling $34 million, according to Smith’s website.