Palm Beach State College cancels $2.3M in student debt

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Looking to help students impacted by COVID-19, Palm Beach State College recently erased about $2.3 million in student debt for over 3,100 students.

Palm Beach State College’s financial assistance helps students settle unpaid account balances incurred during the pandemic, getting students back on track this fall to continue their education.

“This is not the same as what students may owe for loans for debt like to the government or other educational loans,” said James Duffie, the public college’s vice president of finance and administration.

“This is stuff they owe to the college for classes they might have had to drop after refund dates or lost financial aid due to hardships with COVID. … It’s not a lot of money for individuals,” he said. “With all the students, it was about $2.3 million and 3,100 students. So, it’s about an average of $740 per student. Here, it’s probably the value of a couple of classes.”

Palm Beach State canceled the amount of debt by using a portion of its Higher Education Emergency Relief III institutional aid from the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law in March.

The financial aid was the latest of three pools of stimulus funding the college received during the pandemic.

Opening its doors in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, Palm Beach State College has grown from three classrooms and 41 students to five campuses — Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Loxahatchee Groves and Belle Glade, and 48,757 students.

Palm Beach State College offers baccalaureate degrees, professional certificates, career training and corporate and continuing education.

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