SXU Clears More than $2 Million in Student Debt
Saint Xavier University (SXU) has cleared more than $2 million in student debt, using federal COVID-19 relief funds to help 1,050 students -- nearly a third of the student population.
With many students accumulating tuition balances during the COVID-19 pandemic, University leadership recognized the significant financial hardships students and their families faced and wanted to remove financial barriers so students could begin the new academic year with no tuition balance. When the Department of Education updated the guidelines for COVID-19 relief funds to encourage colleges and universities to use the funds for the elimination of balances, the University knew it had to act.
"Our students were directly impacted by the pandemic by job loss, additional family responsibilities and increased levels of stress. Eliminating balances was the right thing to do so that our students could start fresh this semester and graduate with less debt and more financial security," said President Laurie M. Joyner, Ph.D.
Funding for the initiative came from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which allotted funds to provide direct economic aid to Americans negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible students must have been enrolled during an applicable semester of the COVID-19 emergency, from spring 2020 to summer 2021. Funds were not contingent on continuing enrollment at SXU and will not need to be paid back.
Tuition holds can prevent students from registering for classes or obtaining their diplomas. Debt-clearing initiatives directly focus on improving student access and success by ensuring students can continue on their academic path and complete their education.
"I am so incredibly grateful for this additional financial help. I am a full-time student-athlete and work two jobs, so with this money, I can focus more on school and keep my motivation high," said Marty Bennett, a history major.
SXU will continue COVID-19 emergency support over the next semester. This fall, financial aid applicants will be contacted by the Office of Financial Aid about an opportunity to receive a financial aid adjustment due to unemployment or other circumstances in an effort to ensure students are leveraging all available sources of financial aid to stay on track for graduation.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SXU has also provided more than $4.5 million in emergency grants to students, as well as free laptops and other emergency support, which came from both the federal HEERF funds and private sources.