Back to School: Philander Smith College lifting the financial load for new, returning students

Back to School: Philander Smith College lifting the financial load for new, returning students

By BCN Reporter Mecca Hinnant – Aug. 18, 2021 — Philander Smith College (PSC) is welcoming students back to their residence halls this week in preparation for the upcoming fall semester. On Aug. 16 (Monday), the university returned to in-person classes after sending students home at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 and offering a flexible in-person/online hybrid option for the following semester.

New and returning students are expected to adhere to COVID-19 vaccination protocol for all students for the upcoming semester, while residential students will be required to have been administered at least one dose of any two-dose vaccine or the single dose by Aug. 11. Off-campus students have until the start of classes on Aug. 16 to receive their first dose with proof of an appointment for their second dose, administrators said.

As an incentive, all students are eligible to receive a $500 wellness credit with proof of any COVID-19 vaccination. As added protection against the virus, the private institution has also required all faculty and staff to adhere to the same protocol with the exception of religious and health restraints/beliefs.

PSC has also committed to lightening their students’ financial load as much as possible in the coming semester in recognition of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Last month, the school announced all returning students’ balances were forgiven for the previous semester.

“It was critically important for us to eliminate any financial obstacle to returning to our institution. Without the pressure of an outstanding a debt to the college, our students can resume their studies with one less burden,” said President Roderick Smothers Sr.

On Aug. 9, the local Historically Black College and University (HBCU) also announced a gift from an anonymous donor of $250,000 in support of their cardinal mission “to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better.”

The gift was intended for student scholarships and allowed the institute to award $2,500 scholarships to 100 sophomores and juniors for the 2021-2022 academic year. Smothers expressed sincere gratitude for the gift.

“As we continue our legacy of providing opportunities for promising young scholars, it is gratifying to be supported by such a meaningful philanthropic gesture,” he said.

On top of the institution’s financial support for returning and continuing students, PSC is also offering a $2,000 enrollment grant to first-year students who enroll for the fall that will be applied toward tuition and fees. Funds for incentives and scholarships have been made possible through funds acquired by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III that provided nearly $40 billion to colleges and universities in response to the pandemic in conjunction with Title III federal funds.

“While we cannot undo the challenges and sacrifices our students have faced throughout these unprecedented times, we are grateful to be able to provide some financial support to clear the way for them to finish what they have started at Philander Smith College,” Smothers said. 

Fall classes started Monday. For more information, visit


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