OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (July 18, 2022)— Oklahoma City Community College President Dr. Mautra Staley Jones announced today that the college has forgiven nearly $4 million in student debt using COVID-19 relief funds for its Fresh Start Initiative, which impacts over 4,500 OCCC students.
“The pandemic affected our students and their families in various ways, and we recognize that many are still facing hardships in the aftermath,” Jones said. “OCCC is an institution of new beginnings, and this initiative truly gives our students a fresh start. We hope this clears the way for them to continue their educational journey in the fall.”
OCCC has already distributed about $17 million from the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants. Even after the distribution of those grants, thousands of OCCC students continued to owe tuition and fees incurred during the pandemic.
The Fresh Start Initiative applies to over 4,500 students enrolled during any semester between Spring 2020 and Spring 2022 who had an outstanding OCCC student account balance as of July 15, 2022 from any of those semesters. The total debt cleared for this initiative was nearly $4 million.
The goal of the Fresh Start Initiative is to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on OCCC students and their families, relieve students of enrollment debt, and provide an opportunity to pursue and complete educational goals.
For more details on the Fresh Start Initiative, visit OCCC’s website http://occc.edu/fsi.