The billionaire who promised to pay off student loans for an entire graduating class just pledged to pay off their parents’ educational loans, too

The billionaire who promised to pay off student loans for an entire graduating class just pledged to pay off their parents’ educational loans, too

In May, private equity billionaire Robert F. Smith announced he’d be setting up a grant to wipe out the entire Morehouse College Class of 2019’s student loan debt.

Now, that offer has been expanded to also cover those students’ parents’ education debt, according to a September 20 press release.

The gift cost Smith $34 million, the historically black college said in the press release. According to the press release, Smith will make the donation to Morehouse’s new Student Success Program, which will in turn completely pay off all federal student loans borrowed by the 400 Morehouse students who graduated in May, nearly all of whom are black men, as well loans owed by their parents and legal guardians.

“This liberation gift from Robert Smith — the first of its kind to be announced at a graduation in higher education —will be life-changing for our new Morehouse Men and their families,” Morehouse College President David A. Thomas said in a statement. “It is our hope that our graduates will use their newfound financial freedom to pursue their career goals, to lead and serve the community, and to remember the spirit of the gift given to them by paying it forward to support the education of future classes of Morehouse Men.” 

Smith first announced the gift while speaking at the Class of 2019’s commencement in May. “My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans,” Smith told the graduates at the ceremony, Business Insider previously reported. “You great Morehouse men are bound only by the limits of your own conviction and creativity.”

Smith is the chairman and CEO of Austin-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. He has has a net worth of $6.08 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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