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NKU nixes student debt accumulated during pandemic

The school is also offering vouchers to students and dedicating money to mental health programs.
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 2:10 PM EDT
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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (WXIX) - Northern Kentucky University is eliminating student debt accumulated during the pandemic.

The school on Thursday said in a release it will bring outstanding account balances to zero for degree-seeking students with balances from the Spring 2020-Spring 2021 semesters.

That amounts to $600,000 in student debt eliminated.

“The health crisis and ensuing recession, affected so many of our students and their families,” NKU President Ashish Vaidya said. “Wiping out their account balance, allows our students to continue their educational journey with a fresh start without worrying about what they owe the university. We know that earning a baccalaureate degree increases upward mobility and alleviates the demand for talent in our region, so we believe this investment aligns perfectly with our goals of student success and regional stewardship.”

The move is part of $3 million in equity incentives to support students impacted by the pandemic. The money comes from federal coronavirus relief funds.

NKU will also provide all degree-seeking undergrads, including online learners, with $250 vouchers to the Barnes & Noble Bookstore to help pay for books, technology and educational supplies.

“Many students face difficult choices during their path to a college degree, like choosing between buying food and essentials or course materials,” new Provost Matt Cecil said. “The $250 voucher can make the difference between them staying in school or [dropping] out.”

The school will also dedicate more than $250,000 to enhance mental health support.

“Our campus community experienced a tumultuous time over the last year, and it has taken a toll on all of us. Starting those conversations can be difficult, let alone normalizing that many are struggling right now,” Dr. Eddie Howard, Vice President for Student Affairs, said. “The number of students in need of help continues to expand. This is an important commitment in connecting students with the support and resources they need while attaining their educational goals.”

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