CSU Eliminates Student Debt for Many Students Negatively Impacted by COVID-19

CHICAGO (Aug. 3, 2021) - To combat the direct negative impact COVID-19 has had on Chicago State University (CSU) students, the administration has approved close to half a million dollars in funding to wipe out student debt for those who qualify.

The program was designed for students with junior or senior standing who were enrolled in Spring 2020, but stopped attending between that time and Spring 2021, have a 2.0 GPA or above, and whose lives have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. These parameters affected 7 percent of CSU’s student population, which is why the administration felt it was necessary to take action.

“COVID-19 is a pandemic on top of a crisis,” said Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq., president of CSU. “Between 2013 and 2019, there was a 34% drop in enrollment of Illinois Black students in higher education, and this does not include what has happened since the pandemic. COVID has put extreme financial pressure and stress on so many, decreasing their accessibility to an education that is specifically designed to create economic mobility.”\

The one-time debt relief program will be funded by Chicago State University through Higher Education Emergency Relief III (HEERF III), authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. CSU identified a portion of allocated HEERF III funds to assist with student debt in alignment with the fund’s spending requirements. Qualified students will be contacted by the university and offered the one-time student debt relief. Students who accept will receive access to optional financial literacy resources. 

Chicago State University, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois. The University’s continued value to students and the State of Illinois is demonstrated by the ranking by a Harvard economist that places CSU in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting its graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent community anchor and civic space on the greater south side of Chicago by leading a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities.