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Spelman Clears Outstanding Student Balances from Academic Year 2020-2021 Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College

ATLANTA (June 26, 2021) To address the financial hardships that have taken a toll on students and families over the last year, Spelman College cleared outstanding student balances from AY 2020-2021, an action made possible by the receipt of funds from the federal government. 
In addition, for all Spelman students during 2020-2021, the college implemented a significant 14 percent discount of tuition and fees, and reset tuition and mandatory fee rates back to 2017-2018 rates for AY 2021-2022.  
This reset to the lower tuition rates of four years ago will have a long-term impact on affordability, said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman.  
“Spelman’s in-depth study into the financial aid needs of our students several years ago reinforced our understanding of one of this country’s fundamental inequities: high performing, high need students are drastically underfunded,” said Dr. Campbell. “If 2020 taught us anything, it is that racial fault lines continue to make the lives of African Americans quantitatively harder than those of non-Black Americans.” 
Beyond the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College is mindful of the amount of debt that families incur and has spent the last four years raising more than $120 million in new financial aid. 
“Despite the financial hurdles, our academic outcomes are impressive. Half of the students Spelman serves are PELL eligible, that is low to moderate income, which makes our six-year graduation rate of 75 percent, 30 percentage points above the national average, a standout,” said Dr. Campbell.  
During the pandemic, Spelman was able to directly impact every enrolled student in one or more of the following ways:  

  • Refunding a portion of fees to enrolled students related to the spring 2020 semester  

  • Establishing a student emergency fund in spring 2020  

  • Offering a one-time 14 percent composite discount on tuition and fees for academic year 2020-2021  

  • Providing federally funded emergency student financial aid grants to students June 2020, spring 2021, and summer 2021  

  • Clearing outstanding student balances for 2020-2021 

  • Developed a forthcoming partnership with Lyft to provide subsidized rides to a maximum of 500 students residing off-campus without their own vehicle 

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 14th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit Spelman College.


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