A billionaire is wiping out the debt of an entire 2019 college class. AOC says they shouldn’t need an ‘act of charity.’

In an astonishing display of generosity, billionaire Robert F. Smith announced that his family is providing grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 class at Morehouse College.

Smith made the announcement while giving a commencement speech at the all-male historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, May 19. It was met by an enthusiastic cheer from the 400 graduating seniors.

“My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans,” Smith said. According to the college, Smith pledges to donate $40 million to the graduates.


Smith is the founder of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm with over $46 billion in assets.

While Smith’s donation is an incredible show of generosity, it also highlights the tremendous burdens faced by millions of many college and trade-school graduates. Americans owe $1.4 trillion in college debt. That’s more than they owe on car loans or credit cards.

The average college senior now owes $29,000 in student loan debt and the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off their loans.

Student debt prevents young Americans from starting businesses, buying homes, or saving for retirement. It also forces them to make hasty career decisions so they can stay afloat.

Freshman Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used Smith’s generous donation to highlight the student debt crisis.

She also saw the donation as an experiment to see how debt-free graduates behave as opposed to those who leave college under extreme financial stress.

Ocasio-Cortez campaigned in favor of creating tuition free college and trade schools as well as eliminating all student debt. It’s an issue that's close to home for her, because she’s still paying off her degree from Boston College where she graduated in 2011.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders echoed Ocasio-Cortez's statement at a town hall in Montgomery, Alabama.

"A very kind gentleman, a billionaire, forgave the debts of students at Morehouse," the Democratic presidential candidate said. "What he did was very generous, but the truth is that private charity alone is not going to solve a problem in which some 40 million Americans are struggling with right now."

"The time again is long overdue to stop the punishment of millions of people who did nothing wrong except try to get the best education that they could," he continued.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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