BLM sets up student relief fund as loan forgiveness stalls

Blm Sets Up Student Relief Fund As Loan Forgiveness Stalls
Stuart Villanueva, The Galveston County Daily News via AP

MD Crawford carries a Black Lives Matter flag on Dec. 12, 2020, before a march in La Marque, Texas to protest the shooting of Joshua Feast, 22, by a La Marque police officer. 

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has launched a new relief fund aimed at Black college students, alumni and dropouts overburdened by mounting education costs and the student loan debt crisis.

The foundation said it set aside $500,000 for the fund and plans to award more than 500 recipients with relief payments ranging from $750 to $4,500. A public application process for the fund opened Monday, and recipients will receive their money in January if selected. Details about the fund were shared with The Associated Press ahead of the launch.

The BLM foundation’s Student Solidarity Fund is an expansion of a previous initiative it started last year as millions of Americans struggled to make ends meet amid economic uncertainty in the coronavirus pandemic. This time the foundation said it intends to use philanthropic dollars to draw attention to issues of economic injustice, especially while a proposed federal student debt forgiveness plan is held up by litigation from opponents.

“The fact of the matter is that Black people who work to get an education are struggling right now,” BLM foundation board chair Cicley Gay said. “We recognize that we can’t build a world of true liberation without the brilliance of Black people who are committed to furthering their education.”

The relief is meant for bachelor’s degree recipients, as well as those who did not complete their degree but still carry student loan debt. Applicants must have attended a college or university in the U.S. The foundation is asking applicants to submit loan documents to prove their eligibility.

If selected, applicants with $75,000 or less in debt will receive $1,500. Applicants with debt between $75,001 and $150,000 will receive $3,000. And applicants with $150,001 or more in debt will receive $4,500.

The money is not restricted for use only on student loan payments, but the foundation said its relief funds are meant to lower recipients’ overall debt burden.

In a second phase of the fund, the BLM foundation said it will give microgrants of $750 to relief fund applicants who are currently attending historically Black colleges and universities, to help with housing, food, technology, books and transportation costs.