Update: For additional questions and answers, including more details about the types of debt covered, please see our questions and answers.
STOCKTON -- In an era of massive college debt, Delta College students are suddenly finding themselves debt-free.
The College’s Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday, Dec. 14 to eliminate all student debt that is currently on the books for Delta students past and present. That amounts to more than $3.6 million.
It’s yet another effort by the College to support students in the midst of COVID-19. Delta has also distributed more than $7.5 million in emergency grants, and loaned out hundreds of laptops and textbooks free of charge.
Like these other strategies, the cost of wiping out student debt will be covered by federal COVID relief dollars.
Not only will students benefit financially, but those who have holds placed on their records due to outstanding debt will now be able to reenroll in classes and finish their education, setting them up to begin new careers in the community or transfer to a four-year university. Students who have not been able to obtain transcripts due to holds on their record will also now be able to do so.
“I’m grateful to Delta’s Board of Trustees for taking this action and for putting students first,” said Acting Superintendent/President Dr. Lisa Aguilera Lawrenson. “Many of our students struggle to pay their bills and put food on the table, which makes it all the more difficult for them to reach their educational goals. We absolutely must do everything we can to help them persevere.”
“The trustees of San Joaquin Delta College remain committed to supporting our students during these turbulent times and feel that the best way to do that right now is through the allocation of funds that makes it possible for previous student debt to be cleared away,” said Board of Trustees President Dr. Charles Jennings. “We are hoping that this investment will make it possible for students to return to school and remain in school which will in turn create better lives for all in our community.”
This year, the Federal Reserve estimated that student loan debt in the United States hit a record $1.7 trillion.
Delta College has always been an affordable alternative. Two out of three students qualify for free tuition, including all first-time, full-time college students. In all, Delta disburses about $45 million in financial aid each year.
Nevertheless, many Delta students still face great financial hardship, with more than 60 percent of students reporting in a recent survey that they were struggling to meet one or more of their basic needs.
In the past, students have accrued debts for various unpaid fees and were unable to register for classes or obtain transcripts as a result.
Now those existing debts are being wiped away. It is not yet clear when that process will be finalized. No action is required by students.
Delta strongly encourages those students to then register for Spring Semester classes and continue their education. The new semester begins the week of Jan. 17. A special Enrollment Express event to assist with registration is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 15. Help is available during business hours at deltacollege.edu.