FEDERAL LOAN FORGIVENESS ALLOWS DILLARD TO CONTINUE TO THRIVE AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA
Graduates form a processional during commencement exercises Saturday, May 13, 2017,
at Dillard University in New Orleans. Singer, songwriter, actor, producer, model and
social activist Janelle Monáe gave the commencement address and was one of four people
to receive honorary degrees.
- Dr. Sheryl Kennedy Haydel
NEW ORLEANS - The announcement yesterday that Congress will forgive loans awarded by the Department
of Education following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina will allow Dillard University
to erase more than $160 million of debt and continue to educate some of the country’s
In 2007, Dillard was one of four Gulf Coast universities including Southern University
of New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana and Tougaloo College in Mississippi
to receive money to rebuild after suffering millions of dollars in water and wind
damage caused by Katrina.
“The enormity and importance of this federal assistance is life changing for our university
and students,” said Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University. “It
is transformative not only for Dillard University, but for Gentilly as well. The Dillard
community is so appreciative to close the final chapter on Katrina for the university.
This day is incredible for those who remember 6-8 feet of water inside our buildings
in the wake of the storm.”
This important step by Congress follows a distinct trend. Approximately 95 percent of Katrina disaster loans have been forgiven, including loans to government agencies and non-profit organizations.
To reach this milestone, leaders from all four schools worked closely with the following members of Congress: Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee; Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.); Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.); Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee; Rep.Cedric Richmond (D-La.); and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
“Big, important things can be accomplished in a bi-partisan way in this Congress,” Dr. Kimbrough said. “We are grateful for the leadership on both sides of the aisle, including Cedric Richmond and Steve Scalise, and our Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy. Most especially, we want to thank Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi for his leadership that was key to getting this done.”
The decision by Congress this week ends years of negotiations with the Department of Education to forgive the loans. In addition, Dillard can continue to serve students who are 90 percent dependent on financial assistance to earn a college degree.