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Billionaire Pledges To Eliminate Morehouse College Graduating Class's Student Debt

A billionaire tech investor pledged to eliminate student debt for the entire 2019 Morehouse College graduating class. Robert F. Smith announced during the commencement address Sunday that his family would be providing a grant to quash nearly 400 graduating seniors' student debt, according to reports. 

Robert F. Smith

“This is my class,” Smith, who received an honorary doctorate from the school during the ceremony, said, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “And I know my class will pay this forward.”

The announcement prompted the biggest cheers of the event, the newspaper reported.  Smith had already pledged a $1.5 million gift to the university. His intention to pay off the graduating seniors' student debt will cost an estimated $40 million, the Journal-Constitution added. Smith is the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm that invests in numerous technology-driven businesses. His net worth is about $5 billion, according to Forbes

The announcement from Smith serves as the latest example of a billionaire helping college students financially. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last November that he would be donating $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University in an effort to support education for low- and middle-income families. 

Morehouse College, located in Atlanta, is an all-male historically black college with an undergraduate enrollment of just more than 2,000 students.

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