ROCK HILL, S.C. — Students at a Charlotte-area college found out just days before the start of the school year that tuition will be free for the upcoming academic year.
Clinton College in Rock Hill is waiving the tuition for all incoming and current students for the 2021-22 school year.
“Free tuition, I was like ‘Ah!’” exclaimed Latasia White, a sophomore. “I was ecstatic!”
White said the past year has been difficult for her entire family. Like many families, they dealt with hardships connected to the pandemic.
White had planned to pay for school this year by working her work-study job on campus as well as a job in a nearby retail store.
“That’s less money I have to worry about paying,” she said. “It just brought me joy that they could give us the gift.”
Students who attend both semesters of the 2021-22 year will save approximately $10,000, according to an announcement from the school.
Clinton College is able to waive the tuition thanks to COVID-19 relief funding.
The school is using federal grants and funds through the American Rescue Plan to rescue its students from debt.
Clinton joins a growing list of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that opted to use the rescue funds to directly defray student debt.
Studies have found that young Black adults take on 85% more education debt than their white counterparts.
At a time when the pandemic is also disproportionately impacting Black families financially, academically and physically, Clinton administrators saw the free tuition as a way to reduce the compounding stress.
“That free tuition will really help those deserving families who thought maybe, due to financial reasons, my parents are out of work I won’t be able to attend college,” said Jocelyn Biggs, the associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at Clinton College. “Now, they still can attend and work on their future.”
WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing email@example.com.
Clinton College slashed tuition in half during the Spring semester of the 2020-21 school year. Biggs said enrollment immediately rose when courses were offered at a discounted rate.
Since the school announced last week that tuition would be waived this academic year, Biggs said her “inbox has been full” with students who are inquiring about enrolling.
Enrollment for the fall semester lasts through Aug. 13.
Students who opt to live on campus will still have to pay room, board, and fees.