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April 10, 2024

Student Freedom Initiative Announces a New Student Loan Program

WASHINGTON, DC [April 10, 2024] – Student Freedom Initiative (SFI) is proud to announce its new loan program offering accessibility, flexibility, low cost, and low risk. The Student Freedom Loan Agreement (SFLA) provides the funding students attending Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) need. The SFLA also reduces the wealth gap through the lens of education by reducing the debt burden of MSI students.

Statistics show that total student debt in this country is an astounding $1.7 trillion. The total number of borrowers is 43.2 million carrying an average debt of $39,000. Most MSIs lack the endowments and government funding that enable a handful of colleges to defray ever-rising school costs for their disadvantaged students.

“The SFLA offers students and their families a way to finance their college educations without the crippling debt. Students who apply for the SFLA can receive up to $40,000 for STEM majors who are sophomores, juniors and seniors to cover costs over their college career,” said Dr. Mark A. Brown, SFI’s President and CEO.

“In contrast to many other forms of student aid, an SFLA features unique benefits. There are no origination fees (unlike Parent PLUS), there is a low interest rate (below Parent PLUS), and interest never capitalizes (unlike Parent PLUS),” said Barry Cynamon, SFI’s Director of Program Design. “There are no payments required during school, students have an option to defer 12 monthly payments (and pay $0 during those months), there is $0 payment required if the student’s income is less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level ($45,180 in 2024), and debt forgiveness begins the sixth year, if income is below that income threshold.”

“Each year, thousands of graduates from HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions  enter the workforce with a crushing debt burden that limits opportunities, further contributing to the racial wealth gap,” said  Robert F. Smith, SFI’s Founder and board chair.

. “A college education should empower and prepare our next generation for a limitless future.. Through programs like the Student Freedom Loan Agreement, we are moving to redress historic economic and social inequities and offer a sustainable, scalable platform to invest in the education of future leaders graduating from HBCUs and MSIs.”

To apply for an SFLA, go to our website at


About Student Freedom Initiative

A single-purpose nonprofit organization, Student Freedom Initiative aims to reduce the wealth gap through the lens of education. This is achieved by providing a catalyst for freedom in professional and life choices for students attending Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) by increasing their social and economic mobility using a student-centric, evidence-based, holistic and collaborative approach. Initially focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Student Freedom Initiative enables mobility through four transformational components: (1) Student Freedom Fund as a private education loan alternative to Parent PLUS loans; (2) internships and industry-driven certifications; (3) comprehensive support; and (4) targeted MSI capacity building (e.g., access to affordable broadband, strengthening endowment governance and risk adjusted returns, workforce development in clean energy). Student Freedom Initiative collaborates with community-based organizations, businesses and governmental entities through public-private partnerships to make sustainable, systemic changes to support the entire MSI ecosystem.

To date, the Student Freedom Initiative has received generous contributions from Robert F. Smith, Fund 2 Foundation,Cisco, Jane Street, Prudential, First Republic and the Walmart Foundation. The program has also been acknowledged and supported by the Business Roundtable’s Racial Equity & Justice Subcommittee on Education. Our ability to provide support to MSI students is based on the continued financial support of these donors and others interested in aiding our mission. To learn more, visit, and follow us on social media  @StudentFreedom.