Graduates from a historically Black college in Texas were treated to quite a surprise on Saturday, as over 100 students in Wiley College’s class of 2022 were told an anonymous donor had paid off their combined remaining balances of about $300,000.
“You are debt-free. You do not owe the college a penny. If you have a balance, you had a balance,” Wiley’s president and CEO Herman Felton Jr. announced in a video that has since gone viral.
Felton. Jr. detailed the news in a press release this weekend.
“Our commitment to our students goes beyond their time while they are enrolled. We are constantly communicating with donors to assist students in these ways so that they can begin their after-college experience with less debt,” he wrote. “We are grateful for this anonymous donor who will assist the students in paying off their balances to Wiley College and help us achieve institutional goals of graduating our students with little to no debt.”
The school added that the anonymous donor “sets graduates on a continued path to success and allows Wiley College to strengthen its commitment to providing an affordable exceptional education.”
Many people will recognize Wiley College from the Denzel Washington-starring 2007 movie The Great Debaters, which was based on the school’s 1935 debate team that defeated the reigning national champions at the University of Southern California.