College (266567)

NBC News via Afro Tech are reporting that small historically Black college Clinton Hill is offering all of its qualifying full-time students free tuition for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year as well as free Microsoft Surface laptops. This comes after the school announced a commitment to slash tuition fees by 50 percent and also offer every student a new tablet to complete their assignments on.

“It has been taxing for each and everyone of us. At Clinton College, we have done our best to keep the school moving forward and providing a quality education, even in a virtual environment,” Clinton College President Lester McCorn declared in a video announcement. “We want to make sure you can perform with excellence without excuse.”

This news follows after a tumultuous year for college students around the world who were forced into remote learning at the beginning of the pandemic to comply with social distancing rules. Many colleges and universities were left with no choice but to temporarily close their campuses, while students struggled to adapt to at-home learning amid financial burdens.

Clinton College — located in Rock Hill, South Carolina — is just one of a handful of HBCUs that have recently announced that they’ll be waiving tuition or clearing previous balances for students in an effort to cut down on debt. Clark Atlanta University recently surprised its students by clearing unpaid student account balances from the last five semesters.

Additionally, other colleges who have also made commitments to financially-support students at this time include Spelman, Delaware State, Shaw University and others. Even corporate retail giants such as Target and Walmart have announced their own pledges to create educational programs to help their employees pursue higher learning without the financial strain.

The hope for many other students, both at HBCUs and predominately White institutions is that more relief efforts will follow at their universities and start a movement that could lead to free college tuition for all in the future.