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Knowledge is power, and politician and activist Andrew Jackson Young Jr. is investing in the next generation of civic leaders by eliminating financial barriers when it comes to access to education. The former Mayor of Atlanta has joined forces with McGraw Hill Education to create an HBCU scholarship fund, NBC News reported.

Research conducted by the United Negro College Fund revealed 80% of HBCU students rely on federal loans to fund their education and graduate with more debt. The inequities that exist in higher education prompted Young to take action, which led to the cultivation of the scholarship initiative. Beyond the financial support that students will receive through the Andrew Young HBCU Scholarship, they will also participate in a civil rights curriculum dubbed “Civil Rights: A Global Perspective” curated by the nonprofit Good of All. McGraw Hill has donated $50,000 to create 10 endowments that will be awarded to students attending historically Black colleges and universities next fall.

News about Young’s program comes months after former President Barack Obama’s foundation teamed up with Airbnb to create the Voyager Scholarship for aspiring civic leaders. Young, who is an alum of Howard University, says he hopes the scholarships will help students alleviate monetary burdens associated with pursuing their degrees and build a foundation for financial success upon graduation.

“The challenge today is how do you get an education and get a job to help pay you to pay back all of that money you borrowed that is going to leave you in debt,” the former United Nations ambassador shared during the program unveiling ceremony at Atlanta University Center’s Woodruff Library. “College should not destroy your credit rating and set you back before you start.” The event was attended by a collective of elected officials and other community leaders.


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