Bergen Community College will forgive $5 million in past due tuition accumulated during the pandemic.

The college said 2,000 students enrolled at the school between March 2020 to the present will be impacted by the plan. A portion of funds received from the federal government for pandemic-related relief will be used to payoff the outstanding balances of current students with past-due tuition bills.

The debt will automatically be removed from student accounts. There are is no application to submit.

BCC President President Eric M. Friedman said that financial concerns are the biggest barrier for students to getting a college degree especially with the effect the pandemic has had on student finances.

"By erasing past-due tuition, students can return to Bergen to continue their path to a degree without debt hanging over their heads," Friedman said in a statement.

Salem Community College announced a similar plan called Jubilee to eliminate $400,000 in debt from the spring 2020 semester through the spring 2021 semester. Jubilee is the biblical term referring to the periodic cancellation of debt.

Walmart also announced a plan Tuesday that it will pay 100% pf college tuition and books for approximately 1.5 million part and full time associates

College tuition payments have been on hold since March 2020 as part of the federal CARES Act which has been extended twice. It is due to expire on Sept. 30 unless President Joe Biden heeds the call of several members of Congress made Tuesday to extend it again.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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