HCCC expunges millions in student debt

The $4.8 million in forgiven debt seeks to allay pandemic losses

The expungement offer was available to all students; no stipulations were imposed. Photo via HCCC
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The expungement offer was available to all students; no stipulations were imposed. Photo via HCCC

Hudson County Community College (HCCC) has expunged $4,861,188 in outstanding financial balances for approximately 4,800 students. The forgiven debt covers all outstanding balances for the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters during 2020, and the Spring 2021 semester, when the pandemic imposed many challenges that heavily impacted students.

HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber said the expungement was extended to all students, regardless of grade-point average, credits earned, continued enrollment during the pandemic, and the amount of the balance.

“COVID-19 has impacted our students and our community physically, emotionally, and economically, and eradicating all students’ outstanding financial balances was simply the right thing to do,” Reber said.

COVID relief funds cover the costs

The college used funding provided through the Higher Education Relief Fund of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), also known as the CARES Act, to fund the expungement. The U.S. Department of Education allows colleges and universities to use this funding for any component of students’ attendance, or for emergency costs that have arisen because of the pandemic, including tuition, food, housing, health care, and child care.

Reber said that the college has distributed nearly $8.5 million in CARES Act funding to more than 5,348 students to date, with additional funding and support for students forthcoming.

“Hudson County Community College is committed to meeting the academic, social, economic, and emotional needs of all of our students,” Reber said. “We are doing all we can to remove barriers that students encounter in achieving their academic and career dreams.”

Enrollment is now in progress for the Fall 2021 semester, which begins September 1, returning to full on-ground operations. The schedule and details for on-ground, online, and remote courses are available at www.hccc.edu/schedule.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.