Billionaire pledges to wipe out students' loans
A billionaire technology investor stunned the entire graduating class at Morehouse College when he announced at their commencement on May 19 that he would pay off their student loans -- estimated at up to $40 million.
Robert F. Smith, 56, this year's commencement speaker, made the announcement while addressing nearly 400 graduating seniors of the all-male historically black college in Atlanta. Smith is the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a firm that invests in software, data, and technology- driven companies.
"On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we're gonna put a little fuel in your bus," the investor told graduates in his morning address. "This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans."
The announcement immediately drew stunned looks from faculty and students alike. Then the graduates broke into cheers and stood up, applauding.
Recently in the U.S., the difficulty university students have in repaying student loans has emerged as a social problem.
Smith said he expected the recipients to "pay it forward" and said he hoped that "every class has the same opportunity going forward." (AP)