The foundation’s Student Solidarity Fund has earmarked $500,000 for the fund and plans to award over 500 recipients with payments from $750 to $4,500. Applicants with $75,000 or less in debt will receive $1,500. Applicants with debt between $75,001 and $150,000 will receive $3,000; and applicants with $150,001 or more in debt will receive $4,500.
Per the report, the funds are for bachelor’s degree recipients and those who did not finish their degree but still have student loan debt.
In the second phase of the fund, the BLM foundation said it will give microgrants of $750 "to relief fund applicants who are currently attending historically Black colleges and universities, to help with housing, food, technology, books, and transportation costs."
BLM foundation board chair Cicley Gay noted that various economic challenges plague Black Americans who pursue higher education
“The fact of the matter is that Black people who work to get an education are struggling right now,” Gay said. “We recognize that we can’t build a world of true liberation without the brilliance of Black people who are committed to furthering their education.”
Tahir Murray, an HBCU ambassador for the Student Solidarity Fund, said that Black students constantly deal with stress over lacking scholarships and grants. This stress often leads them to be distracted from their coursework
“Black students have disproportionate access to aid and resources that take into account historical discrimination and the experiences of Black people navigating a society that does not see or treat us as equal,” said Murray, a 2021 Howard University graduate who owns the HBCU lifestyle brand LegacyHistoryPride.
The announcement follows the legal hurdles that have blocked President Joe Biden’s attempt at federal student loan relief. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously ruled to put a halt to the government’s plan for canceling student loans. The court is considering a lawsuit brought by six Republican-led states, which claim “that the president’s executive action to wipe out up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower exceeded his authority.”
As a response to the court's ruling, the Biden administration extended the moratorium on student loan repayments. According to the Department of Education, the extension will give the Supreme Court the necessary time to hear arguments from lawsuits brought against Biden's student loan debt relief program. The pause on payments will “lift either 60 days after the Supreme Court issues a decision on the program, or 60 days after June 30, depending on which date comes first.”
"It isn't fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuits. For that reason, the Secretary of Education is extending the pause on student loan payments while we seek relief from the court," Biden said at the time.
On Monday, the Student Solidarity Fund application process opened and selected recipients will receive funds in January 2023.
For more information about the relief fund, visit blmfund.zendesk.com.