LSU will forgive more than $7 million in student debt affecting about 4,000 students, officials said Monday.

“In an effort to continue providing access to an LSU education, we have made the decision to clear all unpaid prior tuition and fee balances for LSU students who enrolled at any point during the COVID-19 pandemic period,” said LSU Vice President for Enrollment Management Jose Aviles. “We are committed to ensuring that students have every opportunity to continue their educational pursuits. Their dream is to walk across the stage and receive an LSU diploma, and our job is to do everything we can to make sure that happens.”

The school, like others, will use some of its federal coronavirus aid to finance the debt forgiveness.

The debt forgiveness will apply from the spring of 2020 to the present.

It applies to students with balances owed directly to LSU.

The debt could include an outstanding balance on tuition, fees, housing, meal plans and parking, said Ernie Ballard, a spokesperson for the school.

The average award amount is $1,816, Ballard said.

Students who qualify will receive communications from financial aid & scholarship officials in the Office of Enrollment Management with more details.

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The school made the announcement on the first day of fall classes.

LSU said it has provided $25 million in relief funds to students during the coronavirus pandemic.

A variety of schools statewide and nationally, including some historically Black colleges and universities, have announced student debt forgiveness programs financed with federal coronavirus dollars.

Earlier this month Baton Rouge Community College, Grambling State University and Southern University in Shreveport announced plans to forgive student debt.

Grambling officials said they are forgiving $1.5 million.

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