‘Now I have hope’: TCC announces allocation of $5.9 million to pay outstanding tuition fees

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 4:09 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Thousands of students at Tallahassee Community College are now eligible to have their debt erased.

TCC announced on Wednesday it is allocating $5.9 million to pay students outstanding tuition fees.

More than 40% of TCC students come from low-income households. For many, this kind of financial assistance can be life-changing.

This debt relief is allowing Brenda Jenkins to return to school: She initially wasn’t accepted to TCC because she had an outstanding balance. Now, thanks to the school’s debt relief fund, that balance is paid for and she’s back in the classroom.

“I got discouraged,” Jenkins said. “I just felt like maybe it’s not meant for me to go back to school.”

Jenkins took a break from college after attending TCC in 2016. She tried to reapply this year but was not accepted due to an outstanding balance.

“At first I thought it was a scam,” she recalled.

When she found out she could get the debt paid for, she thought it was too good to be true.

“And that zero balance hit, I was just like, Wow, this is amazing. People are really trying to help at TCC, like, this is real,’” she said.

The $5.9 million allocated for student debt relief is part of nearly $50 million TCC received in federal pandemic relief money.

“We’ve just been able to do so much with the federal funds to support our students,” said Barbara Wills, VP of Administrative Services at TCC.

About one-third of TCC students are eligible for the funding. The school hopes the assistance will help remove barriers to academic success for low-income students.

“When you’re able to have some financial assistance, it really allows you to study more and give more attention to your school work, when you’re not stressed out or working multiple jobs or you know, whatever it takes to make ends meet,” Wills said.

Thanks to TCC, Jenkins is now enrolled in classes and is on her way to finishing her degree in business management.

“Now I have nope. And now, I am excited that I have another chance,” she said.

Any student who attended TCC from March 2020 until now is eligible to receive these funds. The school is also using federal dollars to provide free laptops and emergency funds to those in need.

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