Pictured left to right: Mckenzie Estep, Sharandica Midcalf, Nick Cannon, Duy Tran, and Jeydah Jenkins. Photo courtesy of Debmar-Mercury
Student loan debt has been a significant issue in the United States with Americans having owed $1.73 trillion in the second quarter of this year, according to CNBC. To play a part in mitigating such an issue, Nick Cannon, a Howard alumnus, surprised seven HBCU students Sept. 28 on “The Nick Cannon Show” by clearing all of their student loan debt.
Jeydah Jenkins of Clark Atlanta University, Marie Rattigan and Duy Tran of Florida A&M University, McKenzie Estep of Saint Augustine University, D’Angelo Colter of Texas Southern University, Sharandica Midcalf of Winston-Salem University and Christian Kornegay of North Carolina A&T State University were the seven individuals chosen to have their outstanding loan balances paid off through a scholarship provided by the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Cannon said on the segment that he was inspired by their stores and he wanted to help them out. The students and graduates will receive the money once they have graduated.
All of the students, including Midcalf, were ecstatic to be chosen for such a life-altering gift.
“It feels amazing,” Midcalf said. “It’s a pure honor to be able to inspire the underdogs of the world hiding in plain sight.”
Each student shared their stories on the show about their college experience and why they pursued going to an HBCU. They overcame issues such as learning disabilities and homelessness, all of which led them to where they are today.
Tran, a Vietnam immigrant, explained a few of his hardships and how acquiring such a reward is a relief for him in pursuit of his education.
“Many people doubted me on many occasions, and the social racism from the coronavirus pandemic really shook my life. Plus, pharmacy school itself was extremely stressful,” Tran said.
Cannon weighed in about the distress college students have about the rising price of education on the show.
“The next generation of college students are concerned that the price of their education may be a little too high,” Nick Cannon said.