Steve and Marjorie Harvey will work alongside billionaire Robert Smith to support HBCU students. Smith, in the past, has garnered recognition for offering to pay off student loans for Morehouse College graduates, and now as a trio, they will expand his Student Freedom Initiative to go from nine partner institutions to 29 partner institutions, per reports by Black Information Network.
“My team and I are proud to support the work of Robert F. Smith and the Student Freedom Initiative to highlight the outstanding job done by HBCUs and other MSIs to elevate the social and economic mobility of our students to achieve their greatest potential,” said Smith in an official press release. “Together, we look forward to sharing and promoting the extraordinary talent of our students in a competitive global economy. Expanding the number of participating HBCUs in the Student Freedom Initiative program and partnering with the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation are two major steps towards closing the wealth gap and creating a lasting impact on the entire HBCU and MSI ecosystem.”
To eliminate the need for loans equipped with high-interest rates, the organization will provide funding for HBCU students through grants. Rather than having them pay back their grants, the goal is to “pay it forward” to the next generation of Student Freedom Initiative scholars.
“Access to quality, affordable higher education is one of the most important steps our community can take towards achieving racial equity,” Steve Harvey said.
Thus far, institutions like Bowie State University, Fisk University, Norfolk State University, Shaw University, and several others will work alongside the Student Freedom Initiative to provide students with the financial resources needed to thrive. Moving forward, the hope is to expand the program beyond just the 29 schools.
“We look forward to other partners joining us in supporting what started with Morehouse College, but now encompasses the totality of the ecosystem who seek to achieve an enduring, scalable solution,” Smith said.
Click here to learn more about the Student Freedom Initiative.