Anonymous Donors Wipe Out College Debt For 400 Local Graduates

May 16, 2020

Hundreds of college graduates in California have been relieved of their student debt by a group of anonymous donors.

For more than 20 years, the nonprofit Students Rising Above (SRA) has provided low-income, first-generation college students with financial assistance, internships, career counseling and more.

Now, the nonprofit has announced another incredible milestone. Anonymous donors have stepped forward with a gift that will change the lives of approximately 400 graduates – providing up to $8 million to pay off their college debt.

Elizabeth Devaney, CEO at SRA, informed the students with a surprise announcement on a Zoom video call.

"What I want to share with you tonight is that anonymous SRA donors have presented us with a remarkable gift," explained Devaney. " [It's] intent is to eliminate student loan debt for you."

Students like Dr. Zachary Tabb, who graduated medical school two years ago and owes around $160,000, is now going to be debt-free.

"It's life changing," said Tabb. "I've had debt … really my entire adult life. And so it's just something that everywhere you go, it follows you … So… this has been nice in that way where I can sort of look broader in terms of what I do next."

Law school graduate Kimberly Armstrong owes nearly $300,000 in student loans. She told KPIX 5 the feeling of freedom is incredible.

"It's a shock," said an emotional Armstrong. "It's amazing. It's a relief, though. Once you start kind of setting in, there's this weight that, comes off of you. Literally, it's a weight lifted."

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