MARSHALL, Texas (KTAL/KETK) – The Wiley College Class of 2022 received an amazing gift over the weekend at their graduation: an anonymous donor cleared their remaining student loan balances.

More than 100 students graduating Saturday from the historically Black liberal arts college in Marshall learned of a generous anonymous donation during the ceremony.

“You are debt-free. You do not owe the college a penny,” Wiley College President & CEO Herman J. Felton, Jr. told the cheering crowd of students and their guests. “If you have a balance, you had a balance. You no longer have a balance!”

This year marked the college’s 150th anniversary and Felton Jr., the donor wanted to do something special in honor of it.

Felton said the total for the balances owed by the graduating class added up to about $300,000. Now, that money is paid and these new Wiley graduates can move forward without worrying about college debt.

“Our commitment to our students goes beyond their time while they are enrolled. We are constantly communicating with donors to assist students in these ways so that they can begin their after-college experience with less debt. We are grateful for this anonymous donor who will assist the students in paying off their balances to Wiley College and help us achieve institutional goals of graduating our students with little to no debt.”

Wiley College has reduced its tuition in past years to $17,500, according to a press release, as the COVID-19 pandemic put a strain on students’ ability to pay off their balances.

Looking forward, Wiley College is getting ready for its Sesquicentennial Celebrations as they mark 150 years beginning in July.