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NHSC Uses COVID Funds to Forgive Student Debt


Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College in New Town used COVID funding to forgive more than $1.5 million in student debt for students enrolled in classes from January 2014 through summer 2021, and an additional $1.3 million at the end of 2021.

Twyla Baker is president of NHSC. "We just came up with the idea of doing debt forgiveness. Its not loan forgiveness because tribal colleges don't, by and large, don't participate in the federal student loan programs. There was quite a bit of debt built up from former students and from folks who came through here previously. There was also, of course, the bill that the current students have. So, our first idea was to take what we had in resources and commit it to our existing students, the students that had enrolled at the start of the pandemic and then decided that, well, why don't we, with what we have, expand these opportunities even further."

NHSC plans to utilize other remaining Department of Education COVID to further assist students currently enrolled in classes.

"I heard back from students that this was, you know, life changing. So hopefully we can make things like this happen again where we really make those essential changes to move the needle for them." Baker said.

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