North Shore Community College (NSCC) has elected to utilize $1.2 million in federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to erase college-held debt for students whose lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of whom are facing significant financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.
Eligible students included were those who were enrolled in credit degree or certificate programs from March 13, 2020 through the Spring of 2021 semester.
While the federal government allocated matching amounts to be spent on students, the College also received an institutional award to support the challenges the College faced throughout the pandemic. The $1.2 million set aside for this endeavor is from those funds received. NSCC has already awarded $2.7 million directly to students affected by the pandemic. These stimulus funds were allocated to help students cover indirect costs associated with the pivot to virtual learning, but with approval from a student, could also be used to pay off student account balances.
“The federal government is highly supportive of this and other colleges’ efforts and has made funding available to support Covid-related expenses and needs. These funds will assist students in completing their educational goals,” said Interim President Dr. Nate Bryant.
Nationally, as well as here on the North Shore, student borrowers are held back by high levels of debt, on top of job losses due to the pandemic, and the struggle to cover basic needs. Students with debt are less likely to enroll or stay in college. NSCC has allocated these funds to eligible students to remove the financial barrier of institutional debt that keeps many students from completing their education and achieving their goals in life.
“This investment ripples into an economic boost in our community and strengthens our regional workforce, which will be crucial, as we all look to build a sustainable economic recovery,” noted Dr. Bryant.
Without the burden of student loan payments, borrowers will have more money to cover basic needs which supports increased wellness, social mobility and long-term financial stability. Studies show that when student debt is cancelled, people are more able and likely to create or invest in small businesses, attain more advanced degrees, and move to where they want to live or work.
And, the burden of student loan debt is not borne equally. Since student loan debt disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx borrowers, especially women, cancelling student debt is a racial and economic justice issue.
NSCC has notified the students of their debt relief eligibility and we are encouraging these students to contact the College with any questions or to discuss how we can help support their return to NSCC, if they wish to further their educational goals.
Dr. Bryant said, “Due to the continued support from The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, NSCC will be able to support our students with financial assistance in the upcoming academic year. This will reduce the impact of the costs associated with enrolling at North Shore Community College. The pandemic has required the College to consider more flexible learning opportunities and I believe students can benefit from those new opportunities and the support we can afford them because of this additional funding.”
To inquire about this debt reduction program or other programs at NSCC, see https://www.northshore.edu/about/initiatives/complete.
North Shore Community College is a public, non-profit, two-year institution of higher education. The College was created by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1965 to serve residents living on Massachusetts’ North Shore. Our campuses, curriculum, and resources are designed to provide pathways for all to access excellent, affordable higher education. NSCC is a special place – we care about our students and their success, and the communities in which we serve.