50,000 students who have attended the City University of New York (CUNY) system will be eligible to have their student debts cancelled under the initiative. Cuomo’s office called it “one of the nation’s largest student debt forgiveness plans of its kind,” and estimated that the initiative would wipe out up to $125 million in unpaid student debt.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hardships in the lives of so many New Yorkers, and our students were among those most impacted,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.”This landmark new program eliminates millions of dollars in unpaid debt, providing much-needed relief to tens of thousands of CUNY students as they work to get back on their feet after the pandemic and plan for their futures.”
“CUNY students showed their great resilience in the face of the immeasurable hardships they faced over the past 16 months, from employment and income loss to food and housing insecurity, amid an unprecedented health crisis that brought sickness and tragedy to thousands of New York families,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “This compassionate action will allow CUNY students and recent graduates to move ahead in pursuit of their educational and career objectives without the specter of unpaid tuition and fees. This landmark measure will also enhance CUNY’s important contributions to New York’s economic recovery.”
The debt forgiveness will cover tuition balances and unpaid institutional student debts owed to CUNY directly. According to Cuomo’s office, eligible students are those “who were enrolled at the University from March 13, 2020, the date the coronavirus was declared a national emergency, through the Spring 2021 semester and accrued tuition and fee balances during that time… This action covers the Spring, Summer and Fall 2020 semesters and the Spring 2021 semester, including students who have graduated.”
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