Future medical professionals attending Meharry Medical College could have a merrier Christmas after receiving a $10,000 gift from the HBCU.
Presented unconditionally and aimed to ease financial hardship heading into the holiday season, Meharry President Dr. James E.K. Hildreth announced the Thanksgiving gift on Nov. 22 in a video shared with students at the historically Black college in Nashville, Tennessee.
According to the Tennessean, Meharry’s 956 students each received the donation. The money came from federal COVID relief funds sent to higher education institutions for financial aid.
The CARES Act dispersed some $14 billion to help schools handle the coronavirus pandemic’s financial strain. It also assisted students with academic debts and the clearing of tuition costs. Meharry landed a $20 million grant to be used partly to bolster its medical curriculum with virtual simulation and telemedicine training. The bounteous student gifts applied nearly $9.6 million of those funds.
“In the past year-and-a-half we’ve all had to learn as it says in scripture to give thanks in all circumstances and keep thankfulness in our hearts,” Hildreth reflected as part of a holiday message.
He added, “I’m thankful for you students and the future of healthcare, public health, and research that is entrusted to you. That future looks bright.”
Meharry’s medical professionals-in-training helped administer COVID-19 tests and provided information and strategies to mitigate further spread of the novel virus throughout 2020. “You heard me right. We’re making these gifts out of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds, which Meharry received as part of the CARES Act,” Hildreth explained.
The money was transferred into the bank accountants of students with direct deposit on Thanksgiving Eve. Others were able to pick up their check on campus. Hildreth advised students to use the money to pay costs tied to their education instead of being tempted to use it for Black Friday shopping.
Students completing up to four years of matriculation in the school of medicine or dentistry graduate with roughly over $280,000 in debt based on an analysis of tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 school year. Several other Black higher education institutions, such as Atlanta’s Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, sought to help students with their academic-related financial burdens by clearing debts.