SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – More than 2,500 current and former students who attended Southern University Shreveport from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021 have reaped the benefits of the school’s decision to forgive clear all of their student loan debts.

Southern University at Shreveport Chancellor Dr. Rodney Ellis announced the clearing of all student debt in July.

“Oh, my gosh, I was crying,” said Brittany Patterson, SUSLA student and December 2021 graduate. “I had actually lost hope in going back to school because I wasn’t ready. And I’d been through so much over the last seven years. So this opportunity was major for me.”

University officials understand the pandemic had a detrimental impact on students and their families.

“It was a big relief to a lot of our students,” said Jorge Sousa, Director of Recruitment and Enrollment Services for SUSLA. “Being able to provide this type of incentive to our students did give them the opportunity to either pick up their studies and begin once again or also look at the hopes of continuing on and graduating.”

Sousa says steady economic growth in Northern Louisiana is creating career opportunities for SUSLA students.

“With new businesses moving into the city of Shreveport, it’s giving the university an opportunity to look at different trade programs, workforce development, opportunities for those who are employed or looking for employment.”

For those who might be deciding whether to continue their education, Chancellor Ellis is giving every student who enrolls at SUSLA $500 towards their cost of school. The university is still offering this for prospective students.

“If this is still in your heart to go back to school most definitely go back to school,” said Patterson. “Because God is calling you to go back to school. There is a greater purpose for your life and just like for me, I actually regained my passion for teaching just by coming back to school.”

For more information on enrollment, go to Southern University at Shreveport’s website.