SBCC Campus | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

More than 1,800 Santa Barbara City College students have received a form of debt relief since August 2021 through the Fresh Start Initiative and the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). 

The Fresh Start Initiative was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to relieve outstanding debts any current or former students have with the college and has allocated $1 million to go directly to students with outstanding balances. Through the initiative, students enrolled in Spring 2020 through Spring 2021 terms, as well as students who left SBCC prior to the pandemic with an outstanding balance, were provided with funds to pay off their entire outstanding balance. 

“The responses we received from our students were filled with hope and gratitude for how we’ve provided access to their future opportunities by paying off their balances,” said SBCC Student Finance Manager Nicole Hubert. “It was a unique and incredible experience for my staff and I to provide a fresh start to our students.”

The HEERF grants were part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress in March 2020. That bill allotted $2.2 trillion to provide fast and direct economic aid to the American people negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, SBCC has distributed more than $8 million to nearly 5,000 students, including a round of grants awarded on December 3 to nearly 2,200 students. 

Students will have the opportunity to apply for another round of grants early in the spring semester that starts January 10. 

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