Former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young announced his partnership with McGraw Hill to launch the new Andrew Young HBCU Scholarship Program, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

To date, HBCU students on average graduate with more debt than their white counterparts. In a statement, Young spoke of the rising cost of higher education and the enormous economic obstacles that graduates face.

“The challenge today is how do you get an education and get a job to help pay you to pay back all of that money you borrowed that is going to leave you in debt,” Young said. “College should not destroy your credit rating and set you back before you start.”

The scholarship fund seeks to establish an “educational ecosystem” to help support high school students enrolled in the company’s current civil rights education curriculum.

McGraw Hill Education made an initial investment of $50,000 which will begin funding 10 first-year students next fall who plan to attend HBCUs.

Sean Ryan, the president of McGraw Hill said that the company is committed to investing even more money into the program in the near future.

“Every young adult needs a fair chance,” he said.

The program is the brainchild of Matt Daniels, the chair of the law and human rights division at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He also created “Civil Rights: A Global Perspective,” a curriculum funded by McGraw Hill and is included in its American and world history textbook series.

Daniels spoke of the importance of the program and how it has the potential to change the future of recipients of the scholarships.

“We want to use this to plug the gap,” Daniels said. “For many students, HBCUs are usually the first ladder out of poverty."