Virginia Church Pays $100,000 Worth of Debt for Howard University Students

Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., decided to clear the debt of 34 Howard students.

95 percent of Howard students are on financial aid. About 4,000 church members fasted and prayed for 30 days, saving money to donate to something charitable.

They donated $100,000 to 34 students.


ore than 44 million borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the United States.

Data from the US Department of Education showed that 12 years after entering college, Black students who took on debt for their undergraduate education owed more on their federal student loans than they originally borrowed.

Studies also show Black students are more likely to borrow, less able to make progress on paying down their loans, and almost half defaulted on their loans. Many do not graduate.

Assistant minister Marc Lavarin, who has his own loans to pay back from Duke, said that “In many instances, it’s not their academic aptitude that’s keeping them back…it’s debt.”

Atlanta’s HBCU Georgia State University provides “micro grants” to students to keep them from dropping out. They report 86 percent of students who receive those grants graduate.

Some of the Howard students were not sure how they were going to graduate because they couldn’t complete tuition payments. But now, they can focus on their academics and their plans for the future after college.

Alfred Street Baptist Church was founded in 1803, and many of the HBCUs were founded in the 1800s, including Howard University, founded in 1867. The church hosts an annual HBCU College Festival, now in its 17th year, which is being held this month at the Washington convention center with over 10,000 students and families attending.

Lavarin said the idea of donating to Howard came to him during prayer.

“I thought, ‘What better way to celebrate Black History Month than investing in the young, Black heroes of HBCUs'” he said.

Latest News

woke politics

Republicans Launch a War on ‘Woke’ Politics in Hopes of Big Legislative Wins in 2022

In 2020, former President Barack Obama warned that the phrase “Defund the Police” could become a dangerous rallying cry for the conservative right. But now, Republicans have apparently taken that warning one step further, declaring war on all things “woke.” Allan Smith and Sahil Kapur of NBC News wrote that…

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

Kentucky Derby

Inspired by Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death, Humana and Kentucky Derby Festival Launch Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in Louisville

Ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby officials and Humana (No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) have announced a new equity initiative meant to make the race more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…

AbbVie Joins Over 400 Leading US Employers in the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Business Coalition for the Equality Act’

Originally published on LinkedIn. AbbVie ranked No. 19 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   AbbVie has joined a group of over 400 corporations and leading U.S. employers to support the Human Rights Campaign’s “Business Coalition for the Equality Act,” an initiative advocating for federal…