By Barnini Chakraborty
Published May 20, 2019
New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on billionaire Robert F. Smith's offer to pay off the student loan debt of the entire graduating class at Morehouse College, saying that while she applauded the gesture, college students shouldn't be forced to rely on the generosity of others.
"It's important to note that people shouldn't be in a situation where they depend on a stranger's enormous act of charity for this kind of liberation to begin with (aka college should be affordable), but it is an incredible act of community investment in this system as it is," she tweeted Sunday.
Smith, a billionaire investor who founded Vista Equity Partners, made the surprise announcement during the historically black college's 135th commencement service.
"We're going to put a little fuel in your bus," Smith told the graduates. "This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans."
The extraordinary move comes as calls grow about the mounting burden of student loan debt across the country.
"Every Morehouse Class of 2019 student is getting their student debt load paid off by their commencement speaker," the freshman lawmaker said. "This could be the start of what’s known in Econ as a ‘natural experiment.’ Follow these students & compare their life choices w their peers over the next 10-15 years."