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Florida college cancels debt for 1,300 students

About 1,300 students at Polk State College got an early Christmas present.
About 1,300 students at Polk State College got an early Christmas present.(Courtesy of Polk State College)
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 11:18 AM CST
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) — Polk State College is eliminating $1.2 million in student debt to alleviate financial hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost 1,300 students received the good news just in time for the holidays.

Students enrolled at the college between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, are eligible for the debt cancellation. In addition, the debts of students who were sent to collections during that period are also being taken care of by the school.

“Polk State College recognizes that student debt is a barrier to advancement and has added to student and family burdens during the pandemic,” the school’s president, Angela Garcia Falconetti, said in a news release.

The college covered the debts with money received through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

To date, the College has invested nearly $7.3 million of the nearly $18 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds allocated to Polk State, the news release said. These funds are earmarked to address student emergency financial aid for students who have been affected by the effects of the COVID-19 public health emergency. More than 4,000 students have received assistance.

The College is continuing to explore options to apply COVID relief funds to alleviate financial burdens for students brought on by the public health emergency.

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