Billionaire pledges to pay student loans at graduation ceremony


It's now a motivational speech that they can really pass on to the bank.

Billionaire technologies investor, Robert F. Smith, surprised university graduates Sunday as he was delivering their opening speech, offering to pay their student loans. despite an estimated cost of $ 40 million.

"On behalf of the eight generations of my family in this country, we're going to put some fuel on your bus," Smith told the 400 eldest graduates of Morehouse College, an all-male facility in Atlanta.

"That's my class, 2019. And my family is offering a grant to eliminate their student loans."

The announcement was initially greeted with stunned looks – before graduates threw themselves into applause and tears at the greatest gift ever offered to the historically black college.

Elijah Dormeus, a 22-year-old New Yorker and Harlem business administration specialist, was stunned to have no more than $ 90,000 in debt.

"If I could do a backflip, I would do it. I am deeply ecstatic, "he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

His mother, Andrea Dormeus, a school bus driver who had joined New York for graduation, told the newspaper, "I was not too worried because my faith in God is very strong."

Smith, founder of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, received an honorary doctorate at the ceremony and had already announced a $ 1.5 million donation to the school.

He told the graduates that he was expecting that they "pay the amount" and expressed the hope that "every class has the same chances in the future" .

Financial Major Aaron Mitchum, 22, said a few days ago that he had calculated that it would take him perhaps 25 years to repay his $ 200,000 student loan, or 25 years at the half of his monthly salary, according to his calculations.

"I was shocked, my heart dropped, we all cried, when it was as if a burden had been removed," he said.

Morehouse College President David A. Thomas said the gift would have a profound impact on the future of students.

"Many of my students are interested in teaching, for example, but are leaving with a student debt amount that makes this unsustainable," Thomas said.

"In a way, it was a liberation gift for those young men who had just opened up their choices."

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