CLEVELAND- Close to 400 students were not only excited about graduating from Morehouse College Sunday, but were also ecstatic after an announcement from the ceremony's keynote speaker.
“This is my class, 2019, and my family is making a grant to eliminate student loans."
Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith, owner of a private equity firm, made a pledge to wipe out all debt to the tune of $40 million.
Jason Allen Grant from Cleveland, a member of the graduating class, received his degree in business administration.
His father, Anthony Grant, was at the graduation in Atlanta, and said he missed the shocking announcement.
Grant said, "My daughter and I had walked to the bookstore in the middle of the speech in hopes that he'd be finished by the time we got back."
And, when he got the news, nothing but gratitude.
“It's gone viral and there's now a lot of pressure for others to do the same and given the struggle in this country with the cost of education there are students coming out in debt."
One in five adult Americans carry a student loan debt, but a superintendent of a local charter school is not only teaching children the importance of going to college, but also how to pay for it.
Wings Academy superintendent Timothy Roberts said for the past several years he's transported students on bus trips from Cleveland to Morehouse College.
Roberts said, “…that's one of the reasons that we take them on this trip -- to put in their minds that they have to work consistently at all times hard so they can receive scholarships."
Until then, Morehouse graduates are still riding high on the fact that they are now debt-free.
After using financial aid, scholarships and savings, for Jason Allen Grant, that will be to the tune of roughly $45,000.
Anthony Grant said his son, Jason, graduated from John Hay School of Medicine in 2014 and he's already landed his first job at a consulting firm in Atlanta.
Billionaire Robert F. Smith, a believer in paying it forward, now encouraging Morehouse grads to prepare themselves in their careers to do the same.