Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the CUNY Return Program, a comprehensive plan to eliminate up to $ 125 million in unpaid debt for at least 50,000 students who attended CUNY and suffered financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initiative is one of the largest student debt cancellation plans in the country. Additionally, students who did not accumulate tuition balances and unpaid fees during the period, but experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic, will receive relief in the form of emergency grants. for improved students. The CUNY return program will be funded by federal stimulus assistance allocated to CUNY.
At its July 6 meeting, the CUNY Board of Directors approved the use of $ 125 million in federal stimulus funds for student support and retention, including this debt relief initiative. student. Although the final figures are unknown until the student’s eligibility and hardship claims have been fully assessed, the University estimates that at least 50,000 students will receive a debt relief benefit in the event of a loss. pandemic.
The average debt balance is around $ 2,000. As of August 2020, more than two-thirds of undergraduate students, or 69.2%, were attending free classes. Three in four undergraduates graduated debt free.
Eligible students who were enrolled at the University from March 13, 2020, when the coronavirus was declared a national emergency, until the spring 2021 semester and the balances of tuition and fees accumulated during this period, will see these unpaid debts to the University erased.
This is a one-off action to help students who have faced and overcome many difficulties during public health and economic crises. In most cases, overdue student balances will be cleared without an application process, allowing students to register for fall semester courses and obtain their official transcripts.