Trinity Washington University uses pandemic relief funds to cover $2.3M in student debt

At Trinity Washington University in Northeast D.C., the median family income is about $25,000. And that was before the pandemic hit students hard. That's why the school decided to help ease some financial burdens.

"They might have been waitressing at a local restaurant or their families lost jobs or got laid off, and so when it came time to pay the small balance on their tuition bills, they couldn’t do it," explained Trinity President Pat McGuire.

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The school decided to use federal pandemic relief money instead, covering $2.3 million in debt accrued by 535 undergraduate students during the pandemic.

"Knowing how our students were in such financial distress, knowing that we had this big hole in our budget because the bills weren’t paid, it was a win-win all the way around," McGuire said. "We could help the students by paying off their balances and we could recover the funds that we need to operate."

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Trinity isn’t alone. Well over 100 schools nationwide have done the same thing, according to the Washington Post.

Students like Iyanna Sawyer are left feeling excited and grateful. As part of Trinity’s class of 2022, Sawyer told FOX 5 she got an email saying her more than $3,000 balance had been wiped out.

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"I was very happy because that is money that I don’t have to worry about," she said.