South Carolina State University is clearing the account balances of more than 2,500 continuing students who have fallen on hard times during the pandemic.

The school said the move will provide “much-needed relief” to students who were not able to resume classes because of financial hardships.

It marked the first major executive decision by the school’s acting president, Alexander Conyers.

“We are committed to providing these students with a clear path forward so they can continue their college education and graduate without the burden of financial debt caused by circumstances beyond their control,” Conyers said in a statement. “Our university was founded on the tenet of providing students with access to a quality affordable education. That’s exactly what we intend to do. No student should have to sit home because they can’t afford to pay their past-due debt after having experienced the financial devastation caused by a global pandemic.”

Students began receiving aid on July 15. The vast majority, according to the school, are continuing students who have not yet registered because of past-due account balances or are students who have stopped going entirely because they couldn’t keep up with payments.

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