People who do their best to survive and thrive within a government should not shoulder substantial burdens from natural disasters without governmental help. In an unexpected pivot to the positive, the recent budget agreement—that concluded the governmental shutdown—includes a special provision that provides a clean slate for four HBCUs severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

As the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported

“The deal forgave $330 million in debt that the four educational institutions had borrowed from the federal government to rebuild their campuses. Only $12.4 million had been paid back.

The four HBCUs that had their loans forgiven were Tougaloo College in Mississippi, Xavier University of Louisiana, Dillard University in New Orleans, and Southern University-New Orleans.

Dillard University and Xavier University each borrowed more than $160 million. Having to repay this debt would have placed all the educational institutions in a precarious financial situation.”

Dillard University President Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough highlighted how helpful the lawmakers budget move is for community stakeholders affected by the super-storm. “The enormity and importance of this federal assistance is life changing for our university and students,” he said.