Billionaire offers to pay off $40m worth of student loans during their graduation ceremony

Steve Schaefer/AP/Twitter

Anyone who has a degree or has studied for one will know that the loans are not easy to pay off, especially in this day and age where lucrative jobs are few and far between.

On Sunday at the graduation ceremony at Morehouse College, Georgia, Robert Smith, a local billionaire technology investor and philanthropist informed the 400 students that he would be paying off all of their student loans.

It is estimated that this is likely to cost Smith around $40m (£31m), which will be repaid to the college in the form of grants. Speaking at the event, the CEO of Vista Equity Partners said:

On behalf of the eight generations on my family that have been in this country, we're gonna put a little fuel in your bus. 

This is a challenge to you, alumni. This is my class, 2019 and my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.

The announcement which was warmly greeted by the students comes amid a student loan debt crisis in the United States, where debt has been reaching record figures.

Morehouse College president David A Thomas added that Smith's generous gift would have a significant effect on those graduating.

Many of my students are interested in going into teaching, for example, but leave with an amount of student debt that makes that untenable.

In some ways, it was a liberation gift for these young men that just opened up their choices.

Reaction to the clip of Smith making the announcement has gone viral on Twitter, with many people seemingly moved by the gesture.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also welcomed the gift but added that students shouldn't be in this situation where they have to depend on someone else to pay off their loan.

More: This angry open letter to the government about 'misleading' student loans has been shared by thousands

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