Evan Spiegel, Miranda Kerr pay student loans for recent grads
- Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr paid off the student loan debt of 285 LA art school graduates.
- As a high school student, Spiegel attended summer courses at the school, Otis College of Art and Design.
- Student loan debt is a $1.7 trillion crisis in the US with an estimated 43.4 million people in debt.
Recent grads from a Los Angeles art school saw their student loan debt wiped out 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, donated several million dollars to the Otis College of Art and Design on Sunday. The donation will cover the outstanding student debt for the 285 graduates of the 2022 class.
Otis College has not disclosed the exact amount of the donation, other than saying in a press release that it is the largest single gift in Otis College history. The Los Angeles Times reported that it surpassed the largest donation to date of $10 million.
“Student debt weighs heavily on our diverse and talented alumni,” Charles Hirschhorn, the school’s president, said in a statement. “We hope this donation will bring well-deserved relief and empower them to pursue their ambitions and careers, pass on that generosity and become the next leaders of our community.”
Spiegel attended summer courses 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 the students upon graduation from the school, according to the LA Times. “I felt pushed and challenged to grow surrounded by super talented artists and designers, and we were all in it together.”
Spiegel and Kerr received honorary doctorates from Otis College on Sunday along with Bobby Berk, one of the hosts of the Netflix series Queer Eye. Berk wrote in an Instagram post that it was an honor to sit alongside Spiegel and Kerr as they announced they were paying off the graduates’ debt.
“What a beautiful moment to watch the faces of these students and families as I realize that not only are they walking away with a degree they worked so hard to earn, but they are also walking away debt free,” Berk wrote.
Hope Mackey, a member of the school’s Class of 2022, told the LA Times that she burst into tears immediately after the news was announced.
“It’s crazy,” she 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 earn a bachelor’s degree from a public university educational data initiative, and some face a lifetime of debt.
Since March 2020, those on federal loans have not had to make their payments and interest has been suspended, a program recently extended through late August. The Biden administration also wants to forgive at least $10,000 of debt per borrower, though some progressive lawmakers have pushed for $50,000.
The White House confirmed earlier this month that Biden is considering tying loan forgiveness to income, with limited relief for those earning less than $125,000 a year.