As President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan is stalled in court, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has officially launched a fund for Black students, alumni, and dropouts to help cover the increasing cost of education.
The organization shared that $500,000 will be distributed to over 500 recipients, in payouts of $750 to $4,500. The online application was released Monday, with the money to be distributed in January.
BLM foundation board chair Cicley Gay told NBC News that current economic crises have impacted Black Americans the most.
“The fact of the matter is that Black people who work to get an education are struggling right now,” she 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.”
Only applicants attending United States undergraduate colleges will be accepted, but those who did not complete their degrees will also qualify. Recipients do not have to exclusively use the funds on their loans, as the organization simply seeks to lower ongoing financial burden.
Applicants with $75,000 or less in debt will receive $1,500; those with debt between $75,001 and $150,000 will receive $3,000; and applicants with $150,001 or more will receive $4,500. BLM also announced that a stipend of $750 would be given to those attending historically Black colleges.
Howard University graduate and ambassador for the BLM foundation’s Student Solidarity Fund, Tahir Murray, shared that financial security is a key factor in the success of Black students.
“Black students have disproportionate access to aid and resources that take into account historical discrimination and the experiences of Black people navigating a society that does not see or treat us as equal," he said.
BLM's announcement comes just two weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to review President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, which was blocked by a federal judge in Texas after more than 26 million people applied.
BLM also provided relief funds for Black Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic, offering 3,000 people microgrants of $1,000, totaling around $3 million. Those earning less than $75,000 annually received $1,400.
Gay added that the student debt and Covid relief funds are ways for the organization to do what the federal government is currently unable.
“We could sit around and wait, and hope that legislators do what they promised by providing loan relief, or we could step up and do it ourselves," she said. "And we’ve decided to do the latter."
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