Grambling State to See $87 Million in Debt Relief Through Coronavirus Act

Funds Earmarked for Student Housing, Natatorium and Intramural Facilities

GRAMBLING, La. – December 28, 2020 – Grambling State University will see a direct financial benefit from passage of the Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act, which includes the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Capital Finance Debt Relief Act.

Approximately $87 million in debt relief will come to Grambling State from this congressional action. The total includes $80 million for student housing and $7 million for the natatorium and intramural facilities.

Debt relief through the Coronavirus Act is another milestone in Grambling State’s continuous fiscal improvement. Over the past four years, GSU leaders have played a significant role in lobbying for debt relief by presenting to congressional leaders and working with national advocacy partners. The strategy started in 2016 with refinancing its debt through the HBCU Capital Financing Program that yielded annual savings of $1.2 million. This action, supported by an intentional focus on revenue diversification and cost containment, fueled a 100% improvement in the fiscal health score of the institution. Combined with recent news of its 10-year reaffirmation by SACSCOC, this additional financial achievement places Grambling State on a sustainable path for continued growth and development.

“We are grateful to Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the members of our congressional delegation for their advocacy,” said Grambling State University President Rick Gallot. “The relief package will be a great benefit for institutions like Grambling State and many others who work daily to develop the next generation of game-changers.”

“Retirement of this debt opens the door to a new financial future for HBCUs,” said Martin Lemelle, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Grambling State University. “It will enable us to sustain our operations and invest in the next generation of student success.”

In addition to congressional support, the Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act was endorsed by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO).

“The HBCU community has celebrated many legislative victories over the past few years and this is the biggest victory yet,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President and CEO of TMCF. “The allocation of $1.7 billion in direct aid to HBCUs, PBIs (Predominantly Black Institutions) and other MSIs (Minority Serving Institutions) discharging of over $1 billion in HBCU Capital Finance Program debt, increase in Title III aid and Pell is Congress demonstrating once again its bipartisan support for our institutions and their students. After this challenging year on so many fronts, this infusion of resources and relief sends a clear signal that the future is bright for HBCUs and PBIs.”

The legislation also includes the largest expansion of the Pell Grant program in a decade; simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to ensure students get the support they need; and restores Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated persons. The expanded Pell Grant program will result in hundreds of thousands of students becoming newly qualified and millions of current recipients receiving larger awards. Additionally, the bill restores Pell Grant eligibility for students defrauded by their institutions.

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About Grambling State University

Grambling State University, located in Grambling, Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901 that combines the academic strengths of a major university with the benefits of a small college. This combination enables students to grow and learn in a serene and positive environment. The 590-acre campus offers 43 undergraduate and graduate academic programs. A member of the University of Louisiana System, Grambling State University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and holds accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. With a longstanding tradition of excellence, Grambling State University continues to emphasize the value and importance of each student, exemplified by our motto: Where Everybody Is Somebody.