If you haven't heard, let me share with you the largesse of Robert F. Smith, the founder, chairman, and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. In 2018, Smith was ranked by Forbes as the 163rd richest person in America. Smith made an incredible offer to the young college graduates he spoke to as a commencement speaker last Saturday at Morehouse College. He is an alumnus of that prestigious institution and he surprised some 400+ graduates by committing to pay off all of their student loans. He then challenged other alumni to do the same and also reminded the graduates that he expected them to also pay it forward when they become successful.
The college student loan bill for those graduating last Saturday is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
Robert F. Smith is a billionaire but how many billionaires have you heard offer to cover that kind of debt? Student loan debt takes many students (including their parents) years to pay off the cost of going to college. Barack Obama noted that it wasn't until he had been out of college for a good 15 years and only after penning a couple of best selling books that he was finally able to pay off his student loans. There are many college grads who put off getting married, put off having children, put off buying a house and put off travel and numerous other purchases and initiatives in their lives due in part to the crush of student loan debt. That affects us all because when people hold back from spending money in our economy, it affects the construction industry, the auto industry, the travel industry and numerous other sectors of our economy which affects employment opportunities and revenue accrual for education and government services that we all enjoy.
Robert F. Smith, a self-made billionaire who knows the importance of giving back. Let's applaud the guy and hope that more billionaires - WILL - GO DO GOOD and help those saddled with the outstanding loans required to fund their pursuit for a college education. It's important for America to have educated citizens which hopefully makes life better here in the states and the world.
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