Future medical professionals at Meharry Medical College were given a $10,000 gift with no strings attached as an early holiday present.
In a video shared with students on Nov. 22, President James E.K. Hildreth of the historically Black college in Nashville, Tennessee, announced the substantial donation.
“Over the last year and a half, we’ve all had to learn to give thanks in all circumstances and keep thankfulness in our hearts,” President Hildreth said in what began as a simple holiday message of gratitude.
“I’m thankful for you students and the future of health care, public health, and research that is entrusted to you,” he stated before revealing the monetary present. “The future appears to be promising.”
According to reports, each of Meharry’s 956 students got the gift, which was funded by federal COVID-19 relief funds under the CARES Act, which were paid to higher education institutions to be distributed directly to students in the form of financial help.
The act set aside a total of $14 billion to help institutions deal with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as students with academic debts and tuition payments. Meharry won a $20 million grant to help fund virtual simulation and telemedicine training as part of its medical curriculum. About $9.6 million of that money were used to make significant student presents.
COVID-19 testing, as well as information and measures for preventing further transmission of the unique virus, were administered by the institution’s medical professionals-in-training during 2020. “Yes, you heard me correctly. He explained, “We’re making these presents out of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds, which Meharry received as part of the CARES Act.”
“We believed there was no better way to start dispersing these funds than to contribute to our students, who will soon be giving so much to our planet,” Hildreth added. On the eve of Thanksgiving, students who had direct deposit had their money placed into their bank accounts; everyone else was able to pick up their checks on campus.
“While the $10,000 is yours to manage, I’d be negligent if I didn’t strongly advise you to be excellent stewards of what you’ve been given this Thanksgiving.” I realize Black Friday shopping is appealing, but you’d be better off putting the money toward your education and training.”
Based on a breakdown of tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 school year, students who complete up to four years of matriculation in either the school of medicine or dentistry graduate with around $280,000 in debt. Several other Black colleges and universities, including Atlanta’s Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, aimed to alleviate students’ academic debt loads by erasing debts.