Evan Spiegel, Miranda Kerr pay off student loans for new grads

  • Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr paid off the student loan debt of 285 Los Angeles art college graduates.
  • Spiegel took summer classes at Otis College of Art and Design as a high school student.
  • Student loan debt is a $1.7 trillion crisis in the US, with an estimated 43.4 million people in debt.

Recent graduates of a Los Angeles art school saw their student loan debt paid off in a single day, and they have Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr to thank.

The Snap CEO and his wife, a supermodel and founder of skincare brand Kora Organics, made a multimillion-dollar donation Sunday to Otis College of Art and Design. The donation will cover the outstanding student debt of the 285 graduates in the class of 2022.

Otis College did not disclose the exact amount of the donation, other than to say in a press release that it is the largest single donation in Otis College history. The Los Angeles Times reported that it surpassed the previous largest donation of $10 million.

“Student debt weighs heavily on our diverse and talented graduates,” Charles Hirschhorn, the school’s president, said in a statement. “We hope this donation provides much-deserved relief and empowers them to pursue their aspirations and careers, repay this generosity, and become the next leaders in our community.”

Spiegel took summer classes at Otis College as a high school student before attending Stanford University and co-founding Snap, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“It changed my life and made me feel at home,” Spiegel told students at the school’s graduation, according to the LA Times. “I felt pushed and challenged to grow up surrounded by super-talented artists and designers, and we were all together.”

Spiegel and Kerr received honorary degrees from Otis College on Sunday along with Bobby Berk, one of the hosts of Netflix’s “Queer Eye.” Berk wrote in an Instagram post that it was an honor to sit next to Spiegel and Kerr as they announced they would pay off the graduates’ debt.

“What a beautiful moment to see the faces of those students and families as they realize that they are not only leaving with a degree they worked so hard to earn, but also leaving debt free,” Berk wrote.

A post shared by Bobby Berk 🇺🇦 (@bobby)

Hope Mackey, a member of the school’s class of 2022, told the LA Times that she immediately burst into tears after the news was announced.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I can’t believe this is actually happening.”

Student loan debt remains a $1.7 trillion crisis in the US: an estimated 43.4 million borrowers have federal student loan debt. Students borrow an average of $30,030 to get a bachelor’s degree from a public university, according to the Education Data Initiative, with some facing lifelong debt.

Since March 2020, those with federal loans have not had to make their payments and interest has been put on hold, a program that was recently extended until the end of August. The Biden administration also wants to forgive at least $10,000 of debt per borrower, though some progressive lawmakers were pushing for $50,000.

The White House confirmed earlier this month that Biden is considering tying loan forgiveness to income, with a relief cap for people earning less than $125,000 per year.

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