HBCU Students Struggle Following End of Fed. Loan Program

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September 2015 brought the end of the federally-funded Perkins loans program – a 57-year-old mainstay that infused more than $16 million in aid to District of Columbia students. With its loss, according to the Department of Education, nearly 5,000 District college students’ subsidies ended. As the costs for higher education continues to increase, many Black students are opting for new and innovative ways to finance college.HBCUStudentStruggle

Whether from crowdfunding or church collections, students have found that utilizing social media to solicit donations proves quick, easy, and beneficial. According to Kelsea Little, media director for GoFundMe, roughly 130,000 educational accounts have been created this year, raising a total of more than $20 million — an increase of 280 percent from 2013. Little told NBC News that social crowdsourcing sites like Pave, GoFundMe, and ScholarMatch have become non-traditional financial backers to the nation’s college students.

nation’s college students. Among the corporate purveyors of social media education funding, Allstate has joined the ranks, having provided more than $1 million distributed to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The donations, part of Allstate’s annual Quotes for Education (QFE) program and its partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation, allows the general public the opportunity to vote online for their school of choice to win an additional $50,000 in scholarships.

“Cuts to financial aid programs over the past several years are affecting HBCU students all over the country,” said Cheryl Harris, senior vice president at Allstate in a statement. “Allstate and the Tom Joyner Foundation are passionate about helping HBCU students become HBCU alumni and encourage the larger community to show their school pride by giving back through programs like Quotes for Education.”

Quotes for Education encourages the HBCU community to reflect the tradition and pride they have for their HBCU by helping Allstate raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in general scholarship funds to assist students attending HBCUs across the country.

“These are hard times for students getting the money they need to attend and complete their college education,” said Tom Joyner, a Tuskegee University alumnus and chairman and founder of the Tom Joyner Foundation, in a statement. “That’s why I’m so proud of the Tom Joyner Foundation and its partnership with Allstate and its Quotes for Education program. It has helped so many students complete their educations at HBCUs.”