Most of us who went to college had some student debt to pay after we graduated. It can take several years, sometimes even decades, to pay it all off. Luckily, for the students of the Morehouse College class of 2019, a billionaire has offered to pay all their outstanding student debt. Now that’s one hell of a graduation present.

Paying 400 students’ study debt

Buzzfeed reports that roughly 400 students graduated at Morehouse College’s graduation ceremony on Sunday, and among them was Robert F. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate. He also happens to be a billionaire and made the surprise announcement as he gave the commencement address to the new graduates.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family that has been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

The graduates did not see it coming

Needless to say, the graduates were filled with disbelief and inexplicable joy. They all leaped to their feet at the announcement, applauding Smith’s announcement. Their parents were just as ecstatic upon hearing the news. One graduate’s mother, Tonga Releford, said that it felt as if it was “Mother’s Day all over again”. Another graduate, Aaron Mitchom, said that he’d already drawn up a spreadsheet to calculate how long it would take him to pay back his student debt. He’d worked out that it would take about 25 years to pay off the $200,000 he owed, but now he could take that off his list of worries.

I can delete that spreadsheet. I don’t have to live off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I was shocked. My heart dropped. We all cried. In the moment it was like a burden had been taken off.”

Investing in people’s future

Smith, who is a co-founder of the investment firm Vista Equity Partners, pledged to pay all the graduates’ debt without knowing how much it would be – he was simply thrilled to be able to make an investment in their future. He also encouraged graduates to learn from positive role models and be part of building a future for the next generation.

“You are responsible for building strong, safe places where our young brothers and sisters can grow with confidence. Watch and learn from positive role models, and believe that they too are entitled to the American dream.”

People on social media applauded the grand gesture

After the good news spread, many took to social media to express their happiness and gratitude.

When you have more than enough, consider giving to others

Having someone just take away all of your student debt is not something that happens every day, and it’s great that there was someone out there who wanted to use what they had to help others. When you have loads of money to spend, you might as well use some of it to help people, which is exactly what Smith did. It truly is a grand gesture, and one the Morehouse College graduates of 2019 most definitely won’t ever forget.

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