United States billionaire promises to pay off 400 students' loans

Cheryl Sanders
May 22, 2019

"I shook hands with all 571 members of @coloradocollege's Class of 2019 and gave them a copy of The Path Made Clear".

A billionaire technology investor stunned the entire graduating class at Morehouse College when he announced at their commencement Sunday that he would pay off their student loans, estimated at up to $40 million.

"On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we're going to put a little fuel in your bus". This is my class - 2019.

"My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans", Smith announced during his address.

Though college officials could not provide an estimate of the exact amount owed by the current graduating class, students graduate with an average debt of $30,000 to $40,000, said Terrance L. Dixon, vice president of enrollment management.

After the cheers and applause and chants subsided, he went on: "Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward". According to that financial magazine, Smith's estimated net worth is $5 billion, making him richer than Winfrey, who previously held the title of the wealthiest black person. "And I want my class to look at these [alumni], these lovely Morehouse brothers, and let's make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward - because we are enough to take care of our own community".

"Because we are enough to take care of our own community", Smith said.

The students took a while to realise what he was saying, for this extraordinary gift was announced matter of factly, with no warning and with none of the showmanship that Oprah Winfrey once deployed to tell her studio audience that all of them were going to get a new auto.

Oprah paid for the college tuition for more than 400 Morehouse men and they famously appeared on one of the final episodes of "The Oprah Winfrey Show".

"I think once you have that mind-set of 'I want to be impactful and I want to change the world, ' " he said, "I promise you that energy just transpires".

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