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HTC cancels tuition debt for students hurt by COVID

A close up photograph of a dollar bill

Brooklyn Park, August 5, 2021 – Hennepin Technical College (HTC) is helping students who suffered financial hardships during COVID by using federal funds to pay off tuition debt. With this effort, 1,381 students will have their tuition debt cleared.

Most of the HTC students with tuition debt owed less than $1,000 each. Students with unpaid tuition are not allowed to register for new classes. Now that the debts have been cleared, they are eligible to register for fall classes.

“Hennepin Technical College is committed to removing obstacles to help everyone gain access to college. By using federal funds to eliminate tuition debt, we are hoping students will be encouraged to complete their educational goals which are essential for students to enter in-demand careers,” said Joe Wightkin, vice president of finance and operations, HTC.

The 1,381 students who have had their tuition debt cleared are not obligated to register for classes at HTC. Even so, HTC is seeing an increase in fall enrollment among those who had an unpaid tuition balance wiped clean.

HTC is using nearly $1 million of federal funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to pay off the tuition debt. Those who are eligible for debt relief include students who incurred tuition debt during the spring of 2020 through the spring of 2021. The financial assistance does not help students who owe money for federal student loans.

The federal guidelines allow all colleges to use the HEERF funding for a variety of purposes, such as purchasing new technology. However, HTC opted to use the funds for tuition debt relief.

Most HTC students are older, non-traditional college students. Many are parents with young children and most students are working while attending HTC. The pandemic created additional financial challenges. According to surveys, many HTC students lost jobs, work hours, and incurred additional expenses such as child care. Survey data also indicated that students suffered food insecurity and housing insecurity during COVID.

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College (HTC) is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college has a diverse student population and offers degree and non-degree courses in over 45 programs. HTC is a member of Minnesota State, which includes 30 colleges and seven state universities.

Last updated by mdibba : 2022-07-29 12:32:37