Billionaire to pay off $40 Million college debt for Morehouse College class of 2019

elaine amj

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 26, 2012
I am glad he asked the students to pay it forward...and I sure hope many take him up on it! What an amazing gesture!

I admit if my kid was there I would feel a little sore that I scrimped to put my kid thtough school and wouldn't get anything. And yet - what an amazing gift to studrnts who were not as blessed as mine to have a family with the ability to put them through college without loans. Granted, I can only fund basic options (my DD just decided on our local school - partly to save on paying for residence at the more prestigious school where she was also accepted).
 

disykat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 5, 2000
Except these students did likely experience all of the things you mentioned.

And then, at commencement, as a total surprise, they found out their loan is being paid off. It doesn't change the journey to graduation, however.
You really think that student who took out 200K for an undergrad degree experienced a lot of financial sacrifice? That's kind of hard for me to fathom.
 
Last edited:
  • Allison

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2005
    Ok sour grapes here.....what about the kid that worked three part time jobs and ate PB sandwiches for 4 years vs the kid that partied and just made it to graduation.
    Yep, sour grapes. At least you own up to it.

    I am sure there are those that will look for the negative to this story...and I can't imagine being that jaded on life.
    I agree.

    I'm just not as mature as all of you, apparently. I don't feel like those students will necessarily experience what mine did. Will they experience working from the time they turned 16 up until and during college, will they experience giving up vacations, not studying abroad, their parents having sacrificed and saved since they were born, not picking their first choice schools, not having vehicles, living as cheaply as they can?

    Personally, I think those things were good for my kids and a worthwhile sacrifice for me. However, that won't stop me from wondering "hmm" when people who may have made different choices get a huge reward for doing so.
    Why are you making this out to be that one is exclusive of the other? It's not. Someone who has to borrow that much money is likely a very high need student who also has a work history, lives as cheaply as they can, and makes sacrifices.
     

    cabanafrau

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 10, 2006
    I'm just not as mature as all of you, apparently. I don't feel like those students will necessarily experience what mine did. Will they experience working from the time they turned 16 up until and during college, will they experience giving up vacations, not studying abroad, their parents having sacrificed and saved since they were born, not picking their first choice schools, not having vehicles, living as cheaply as they can?

    Personally, I think those things were good for my kids and a worthwhile sacrifice for me. However, that won't stop me from wondering "hmm" when people who may have made different choices get a huge reward for doing so.

    I'm not a fan of simply erasing student loans, however it's done. I'm all for programs that help lower the cost of overall tuition. I'm all for share the load type programs that help students who took loans pay it off. Windfalls for everyone except those who paid their way as they went? Not so much.
    How on earth are you able to say that all of these students even grew up in a situation where vacations were ever possible in the first place? Your children experienced more privilege than many on that basis alone.

    Who says these students had vehicles, didn't have parents scraping to save since birth, studied abroad and were not living as cheaply as they could? You're making sweeping judgments based on no evidentiary basis, but a seemingly emotionally biased one. Simply having a student loan doesn't imply that the student or the parent paid nothing. A loan can bridge the gap between what student and parents can pay and what the actual cost is.

    This man had every right to spend his money exactly how he sees fit, and good on him for choosing to spend it on such an unselfish idea that has great odds of giving a lot of people a leg up -- young people who are seeking a better future through education no less. Who knows the multitude of ways this gesture may pay off in the future?
     

    kimblebee

    now my thoughts will be worth 5 cents
    Joined
    May 28, 2009
    :scratchin I guess I'm not opposed to it in theory, but I would HATE it if that was the intention from the start, without the prior knowledge of the recipients. I also don't think they should be compelled into a study of any kind.
    It was just a comment on Twitter, nothing more, nothing less.

    Personally, if I were one of the recipients I'd NEVER agree to be studied. :worship: I'd be too busy thanking God and making sure I honored the donor appropriately by charting a course towards paying it forward. I didn't read anywhere that there were conditions attached to the gift. I'm sure there will be those that just take-the-money-and-run, so to speak and those that despite this advantage will have less than successful futures. I don't know that there's enough of a benefit to finding out to make a formal study worthwhile.
    Again, no formal study. Just a comment on Twitter that I thought was interesting.

    I'm just not as mature as all of you, apparently. I don't feel like those students will necessarily experience what mine did. Will they experience working from the time they turned 16 up until and during college, will they experience giving up vacations, not studying abroad, their parents having sacrificed and saved since they were born, not picking their first choice schools, not having vehicles, living as cheaply as they can?

    Personally, I think those things were good for my kids and a worthwhile sacrifice for me. However, that won't stop me from wondering "hmm" when people who may have made different choices get a huge reward for doing so.

    I'm not a fan of simply erasing student loans, however it's done. I'm all for programs that help lower the cost of overall tuition. I'm all for share the load type programs that help students who took loans pay it off. Windfalls for everyone except those who paid their way as they went? Not so much.
    I could probably almost guarantee that the people who were given the incredible gift had had struggles of their own. I don’t think people get $200K+ in debt because they want to.
    As other have said, they probably didn’t have vacations to give up in the first place.
     

    disykat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2000
    We're giving opinions here. While I'm sorry my opinion seems to be offending so many people, this is a discussion board so I'm discussing. I'm allowed to have opinions based on emotion. Many of you are basing your opinions on feeling good about what the benefactor did. Of course that man had the right to spend his money as he saw fit. I also have the right to have an opinion about it.

    My kids were privileged, no doubt. However, I'm somewhat jaded - partially from years on the DIS of people saying they would never give up their annual Disney vacation so their kids would have less loans. Years ago, there were some students on here who talked about using their student loans for Disney trips, being unwilling to share a bathroom in a dorm, etc. It was honestly the first time I'd been exposed to people whose goal wasn't to minimize loans.

    I NEVER said that not having student loans implies that the students and their families didn't sacrifice. IMO, having a 200K loan for undergrad pretty much does. It's pretty hard for me to fathom making that kind of choice and my opinion is that it was a poor one.

    Had this story focused on students who took out 27K of loans and got a windfall, I'd be just as excited as you all. The specific student that was mentioned took out what I believe to be an exorbitant amount of loans and is not someone I would have considered needy, but foolish.
     
    Last edited:
  • mjkacmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2006
    I'm just not as mature as all of you, apparently. I don't feel like those students will necessarily experience what mine did. Will they experience working from the time they turned 16 up until and during college, will they experience giving up vacations, not studying abroad, their parents having sacrificed and saved since they were born, not picking their first choice schools, not having vehicles, living as cheaply as they can?

    Personally, I think those things were good for my kids and a worthwhile sacrifice for me. However, that won't stop me from wondering "hmm" when people who may have made different choices get a huge reward for doing so.

    I'm not a fan of simply erasing student loans, however it's done. I'm all for programs that help lower the cost of overall tuition. I'm all for share the load type programs that help students who took loans pay it off. Windfalls for everyone except those who paid their way as they went? Not so much.
    My kids will have debt, because while we paid as much as we could, it wasn’t enough. In state colleges, they worked as many jobs as they could, drove beater cars they purchased, ate their weight in ramen, went in family vacations once every three years (ds didn’t go last year because he worked 7 days a week to pay his rent). I have the newest vehicle in my household, 2007, DH drives around with steering wheel fluid to add weekly. Ds21 can’t drive over 30 mph because the second transmission is shot on his 2000 Honda. I cook almost every night, takeout is 2 or 3 times a month. Dd18 (no car) was in the top 1% academically, not to go to a top college, but to get merit at a lesser one.

    And my kids are not alone. A lot of their friends are in similar situations, and I’m very impressed with their work ethic. I honestly don’t know of anyone overspending and relying on loans, folks I know are intelligent enough to know that is a bad idea, and do whatever they can to help their kids out, even if it means a smaller house, older car, limited vacations. I am so glad that this man was so generous, I can’t even imagine the relief they are feeling.
     

    disykat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2000
    I haven't repeated everything I've said in every post, but I've been very clear in the majority of my posts I'm talking about the 200K loans situation. While I didn't address it specifically in the post everyone is quoting me on as if I'm saying all debt is bad, if you read my other posts you will see that is not my opinion. I would go back into that post and clarify, but I know how that goes on the DIS. I stand by my opinion that 200K of debt is not representative of a a needy student sacrificing their all for an undergrad degree.
     

    disneyjunkie

    I'VE GOT MY EYES ON YOU!!!
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2001
    I'm just not as mature as all of you, apparently. I don't feel like those students will necessarily experience what mine did. Will they experience working from the time they turned 16 up until and during college, will they experience giving up vacations, not studying abroad, their parents having sacrificed and saved since they were born, not picking their first choice schools, not having vehicles, living as cheaply as they can?

    Personally, I think those things were good for my kids and a worthwhile sacrifice for me. However, that won't stop me from wondering "hmm" when people who may have made different choices get a huge reward for doing so.

    I'm not a fan of simply erasing student loans, however it's done. I'm all for programs that help lower the cost of overall tuition. I'm all for share the load type programs that help students who took loans pay it off. Windfalls for everyone except those who paid their way as they went? Not so much.
    I bet your children never experienced what many of those Morehouse men (and many students attending HBCUs across the country) experienced.

    Have your children ever lived in public housing? Did your children attend failing public schools? As a parent, did you have to fight, beg and plead for AP/IB level courses when your kids were in high school?
    Did your children ever work SYEP(summer youth employment programs)? These jobs are reserved for teens/ young adults from very low income families. Here in NYC, SYEP programs start at 14.

    Yes, while SOME of the young men may not have had the luxuries your children had, I willing to bet your kids didn't experience what those young men experienced growing up.

    And notice I said SOME. HBCUs have a long rich legacy. Many of today's graduates are HBCU legacies. I guarantee you that the students there cross all social economic classes.

    Morehouse is one of the Ivy's of HBCUs( along with Howard University, Spellman and Hampton University). You don't get to be Morehouse Man without being the best of the best academically.
     

    avengerspoilerer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 24, 2019
    These schools exist because the students and parents want this type of education.

    There are several single sex charter, independent and public schools on NYC.

    Why wouldn't this option continue to be available at the college level?
    I posit the question because could you imagine in 2019 an all-white or all-black college in 2019? I wonder why no one has ever challenged this in court. Why is it okay to have an all male or only female colleges.
     
  • disneyjunkie

    I'VE GOT MY EYES ON YOU!!!
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2001
    You really think that student who took out 200K for an undergrad degree experienced a lot of financial sacrifice? That's kind of hard for me to fathom.
    Students can not take out that much at the undergrad level. If I'm not mistaken, the max they can take out a year is 20K.
     

    mnrose

    Queen of all she surveys
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2009
    I bet your children never experienced what many of those Morehouse men (and many students attending HBCUs across the country) experienced.

    Have your children ever lived in public housing? Did your children attend failing public schools? As a parent, did you have to fight, beg and plead for AP/IB level courses when your kids were in high school?
    Did your children ever work SYEP(summer youth employment programs)? These jobs are reserved for teens/ young adults from very low income families. Here in NYC, SYEP programs start at 14.

    Yes, while SOME of the young men may not have had the luxuries your children had, I willing to bet your kids didn't experience what those young men experienced growing up.

    And notice I said SOME. HBCUs have a long rich legacy. Many of today's graduates are HBCU legacies. I guarantee you that the students there cross all social economic classes.

    Morehouse is one of the Ivy's of HBCUs( along with Howard University, Spellman and Hampton University). You don't get to be Morehouse Man without being the best of the best academically.

    Exactly. My children were enormously privileged, and I've lived a pretty charmed life as well (although started from very very modest beginnings, and had the good fortune of attending college and law school when tuition was loads cheaper AND there was a lot more grant money). I'm GLAD that my children don't have to scrimp and save and take out loans. I sure as heck ain't gonna judge whether other people have made "good decisions." In general, people do the best they can.
     

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    You really think that student who took out 200K for an undergrad degree experienced a lot of financial sacrifice? That's kind of hard for me to fathom.

    I don't know the histories of these young men, however if they did have to take out a 200K loan I'm going to assume it is because they had too. Which I would assume is because they weren't fortunate enough to have parents who could sacrifice things in order to pay for school, it was more like pay the house payment and the heat instead of going on vacation, or putting some money away in a college fund.
    Besides it's very unlikely these men paid full tuition and board, like a pp mentioned these are the best academically and probably received plenty of scholarships to bring the actual costs down, loans would take care of the rest and probably not equal anywhere near $200K
     

    disykat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2000
    I sure as heck ain't gonna judge whether other people have made "good decisions." In general, people do the best they can.
    I think education about good decisions is what helps people do the best they can.

    I think we have done a huge disservice to our young people not teaching them about how to use credit and take out loans wisely. The fact that the bank system allows and encourages people to take out loans that will be impossible for them to fulfill is abhorrent to me. We need to have affordable educational options available. We need to have low interest loans available for education. The problem IMO is a lot bigger than simply wiping out the loans for people who took them out. We need to educate and encourage people to seek the options that work for their circumstances. I am not wealthy enough to take out a 200K loan for an undergrad education, very few people are. Why do we seem to have so many people who do it? (I don't know anyone personally who has taken out this much in undergrad loans so that's why I say "seem to.")

    The person in the example had even done the math and determined paying off the loans would take half his income for the next 25 years and he still did it. How are people not horrified by that?

    Honestly that student stood out in the story to me more than the rich benefactor because I find it so horrifying. What about all the students who don't have a benefactor and have done as this student did?

    Was the benefactor generous? Yes. But to me there's so much more to this story. Part of it is that I would have been in that audience thinking "why the heck didn't I take loans?" and that's exactly what bothers me about this. That's the last thing I should be thinking. The goal should be NOT to have to take out an exorbitant amount of loans. In life, I believe what gets you ahead is living within your means. As a society we don't want to do that. We want windfalls rather than solutions that make living within one's means possible for more people.
     
    Last edited:

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    I think education about good decisions is what helps people do the best they can.

    I think we have done a huge disservice to our young people not teaching them about how to use credit and take out loans wisely. The fact that the bank system allows and encourages people to take out loans that will be impossible for them to fulfill is abhorrent to me. We need to have affordable educational options available. We need to have low interest loans available for education. The problem IMO is a lot bigger than simply wiping out the loans for people who took them out. We need to educate and encourage people to seek the options that work for their circumstances. I am not wealthy enough to take out a 200K loan for an undergrad education, very few people are. Why do we seem to have so many people who do it? (I don't know anyone personally who has taken out this much in undergrad loans so that's why I say "seem to.")

    The person in the example had even done the math and determined paying off the loans would take half his income for the next 25 years and he still did it. How are people not horrified by that?

    Honestly that student stood out in the story to me more than the rich benefactor because I find it so horrifying. What about all the students who don't have a benefactor and have done as this student did?

    Was the benefactor generous? Yes. But to me there's so much more to this story. Part of it is that I would have been in that audience thinking "why the heck didn't I take loans?" and that's exactly what bothers me about this. That's the last thing I should be thinking. The goal should be NOT to have to take out an exorbitant amount of loans. In life, I believe what gets you ahead is living within your means. As a society we don't want to do that. We want windfalls rather than solutions that make living within one's means possible for more people.
    That student was a finance major. He did the calculations, he knew what he was getting in to.
    I don't think it's that all these kids are uneducated or ignorant about finances, I think in most cases they see the prestige of a school worth it.
    These students are making a choice, and sometimes loans are the only way to make it happen for them. I personally don't care at all what others choose to do with their finances, that is their business.

    As for educating student and parents about the costs of college, our district has a great program for that, 4 times a year, every year parents are invited to attend. People living here have no excuse for not being informed.
     

    ronandannette

    I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
    Joined
    May 4, 2006
    I don't know the histories of these young men, however if they did have to take out a 200K loan I'm going to assume it is because they had too. Which I would assume is because they weren't fortunate enough to have parents who could sacrifice things in order to pay for school, it was more like pay the house payment and the heat instead of going on vacation, or putting some money away in a college fund.
    Besides it's very unlikely these men paid full tuition and board, like a pp mentioned these are the best academically and probably received plenty of scholarships to bring the actual costs down, loans would take care of the rest and probably not equal anywhere near $200K
    I know nothing of the caliber of Morehouse (or American universities in general really) but a quick google search turned up the average cost of undergrad tuition AFTER student-aid is $33,000/year. Perhaps Finance is an unusually expensive faculty or maybe that student was ineligible for student-aid. :confused3

    :scared: Personally, I'm breaking out in a rash just thinking about it. DS will enter a very respectable local university in September; his first year will be spent in Open Studies which is a requirement for a 4 year Bachelor of Social Work. The tuition alone, not including books or living expenses is less than $7,000/year. He's taking loans and living at home and will work part-time to fund his car and "life". Worst-case scenario he graduates a little less than $30,000 in debt for the entire thing.
     

    disykat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2000
    I'm going to comment on a bunch of these in bold inside your post because I think your post brings up many interesting points I want to address - I'm not trying to pick on you or change your words!

    (bold words are inserted by disykat)That student was a finance major. He did the calculations, he knew what he was getting in to. EXACTLY! And he still did it!
    I don't think it's that all these kids are uneducated or ignorant about finances, I think in most cases they see the prestige of a school worth it. Makes me wonder WHY? What would possibly make 25 years of half your income worth it?
    These students are making a choice, and sometimes loans are the only way to make it happen for them. Again - exactly. It's a choice they are making. Choices have consequences. Small loans make sense for many and carry manageable consequences. Large loans have large consequences. I personally don't care at all what others choose to do with their finances, that is their business. I do, and I have opinions when it comes to wiping out any consequence that might come with their decisions. I find financial discussions fascinating.

    As for educating student and parents about the costs of college, our district has a great program for that, 4 times a year, every year parents are invited to attend. People living here have no excuse for not being informed. Yet the overwhelming sentiment seems to be that the students are blameless in making the very costly decision of large (again 200K was the example mentioned in the article!) loans.
     
    Last edited:

    PlainJane

    <font color=teal>It was wonderful both times<br><f
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2005
    I’m torn, honestly.

    I have very little in the way of student loan debt. I went to a community college and then transferred to a state school. Because of the aid I received at the state school, I incurred only a small debt even though I didn’t have to work in college. My parents also covered the books and tuition at the community college. So, I don't really have sour grapes, I was very blessed to be in a situation where I didn't have to take out a lot of loans.

    I do feel bad for the people who sacrificed (emphasis on sacrifice, I don't feel bad for a wealthy family that wouldn't have had debt regardless) to pay that tuition or those living expenses to reduce debt once graduation rolled around.

    Another thing that gets me is that it should not have been that expensive to begin with, and even if it was it should be illegal to give a loan of that amount to a person that young that cannot be cancelled in bankruptcy. I think it's terrible that one student had family members encouraging and co-signing on that ridiculous amount of debt.

    On the other hand, that's incredibly generous and that must have been one of the most joyous commencements ever. The opportunities this opens to those men to start their lives, most likely (barring things like medical debt), with a financial clean slate is an amazing. They'll be able to spend their earnings for retirement, buying a home, giving, even putting away money one day so their kids can have the same clean slate.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News




    Top