Morehouse College student inspired to give back after billionaire pays off student loans

Local college student shares reaction to student loans paid off

By Jennifer Ready - Reporter, Chloe Walker - Associate producer

ATLANTA, Ga. - A local college graduate is planning his future, student-debt free, thanks to a very generation gift.

Cameron Hill is one of the nearly 400 graduating seniors from Morehouse college, whose commencement speaker promised to pay off their student loans.

Billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith announced Sunday that he plans to pay off the student loans for the class of 2019. The gift, totaling an estimated $40 million is believed to be the single largest donation ever made to a historically black college or university.

“As soon as he said it, we all sort of started jumping to our feet screaming MVP, MVP!” Hill said.

He recounted the bittersweetness of receiving a college diploma.

“The rituals, routines, everything’s just, in my opinion, is monumentous and has so much meaning behind it,” he said. It meant, even more, when Smith made the announcement.

Hill and all of his graduating class were completely surprised that the billionaire would pay off an estimated $40 million in student loans. 

“I think myself and my brothers we were all definitely in disbelief at first and then overwhelmed by joy, extremely happy as well,” Hill said.

Hill can move forward without the added pressure of paying back loans. His next goal is to attend law school, but the unexpected gift has inspired him to do one simple act.

“To give back to the next student after you so that they can be in the same boat and be as prepared to go out into the world and immerse themselves and have the best chance to succeed as possible,” Hill said.

It's Hill's way of paying it forward as someone did for him.

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.