Program mission: To provide financial aid debt relief for current African American students and graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and any four- year accredited university. Eligible students have taken out college loans to pay for their undergraduate education.

Washington, District of Columbia, UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- UNCF (United Negro College Fund) in partnership with African Pride® and JFM® Curl Peace™, today announced a program that will transform the lives of African American/Black students dealing with crippling student loan debt. This focuses on students who have invested in higher education and should confidently have a pathway to upward economic mobility. 

The UNCF Wear Your Crown With Confidence™ Loan Forgiveness & Scholarship program will provide $1,000,000 in financial aid debt relief over three years to current students or graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs,) and any four-year accredited university. Eligible students are between the ages of 18-35 who are currently enrolled or graduates, and have taken out college loans to fund their undergraduate education.

“As a Spelman College graduate, member of an HBCU family of seven graduates, mother of an HBCU undergrad and a recent graduate, I fully understand the financial challenges. There is a crisis of crippling higher education debt for students, graduates, families, relatives and communities,” said Dawn W. Thompson, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of African Pride®, JFM® Curl Peace™, and Dr. Miracle’s®. 

“At a moment of achievement when graduates should be feeling confident, too many students say they’re feeling overwhelmed by mounting loan debt,” says Thompson. With our leadership team, Kendria Strong, Director of Marketing, African Pride® (FAMU alum,) and Kelly Keith, Vice President, Premium Brands (Spelman alumna,) we have brainstormed a way to liberate some of those in need, to change the trajectory of their futures.”

NBC News/GenForward at the University of Chicago Survey cites one out of every two African American Millennials has up to $29,000 in student loan debt. That is three times the debt of other racial subgroups. Offering financial education can be transformational, but to win the award and receive significant debt relief in this program will be life changing. Standout applicants will have a strong record of service to their communities.  “Our commitment is $1,000,000 over three years. We are the first to offer such a program, and there is no other organization better than UNCF for us to partner with for this legacy building program.”

The UNCF Wear Your Crown with Confidence™ Loan Forgiveness & Scholarship program will be administered and managed by UNCF for three years, through 2022.

Applicants for the one-time need-based program must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must currently have or have possessed a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale at the time of their graduation or during their period of attendance at a four-year, accredited HBCU or 4 year accredited university. Applicants can have had up to five years to have completed their degree.
  • Applicants must have an outstanding, cumulative student loan debt in excess of 40% of their current annual income from all sources, or a current monthly student loan repayment obligation in excess of 25% of their current monthly income from all sources.

“For 75 years, our motto ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in,’ ® has remained at the forefront of everything we do,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “We must continue to invest our time and money in better futures for young people around the country. Partners like African Pride ® and JFM ® Curl Peace and their house of brands are vitally important to this work and we are pleased to join with them on this initiative.”

Applications for the UNCF Wear Your Crown With Confidence Loan Forgiveness & Scholarship Program will be accepted until July 26, 2019 for the first wave. The second wave of applications will open in January 2020. Please visit UNCF.org/scholarships for more information, to apply for the program, or to be put on the priority list to be notified when the next program wave opens. We are also seeking additional partners in this programming. If you are interested in being a partner or making a donation, contact Mary.Williams@uncf.org  

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

About African Pride®
For 30 years, African Pride has addressed the hair care needs of all hair types and textures whether natural or relaxed with brands like Black Castor Miracle, Moisture Miracle, Shea Miracle, Olive Miracle and Dream Kids. We believe in the unspoken power of a great hair day. The boost of energy that’s given when your beauty and confidence is intertwined should be accessible to all women. That’s why we created African Pride products with premium, natural ingredients at an affordable price to ensure that you’re less stressed about your hair and more focused on stepping into your best self.

For more information about the brand, visit AfricanPrideHair.com. You can also join the African Pride conversation on Facebook (@MyAfricanPrideHair), YouTube (@AfricanPride), and on Instagram and Twitter (@MyAfricanPride). 

JFM® Curl Peace™

Easy, Natural Care for Kid’s Kinks, Coils, and Curls with quality, efficacious products.

For Wash Day, Detangling, Moisture and Styling with gentle and safe ingredients to help natural curls flourish.

Kid-first focus for Girls & Boys, Curl Peace is specially formulated for kids’ kinky, coiled, and curly hair.

Happier Hair Days With Less Tangles & No Tears to replace hair care fear and pain with excited anticipation.

Engaging Education to lessen the burden of kid’s hair care by helping parents master the skill.

Empowering kids to maintain their confidence as they grow to:

    • Promote representation & texture positivity,
    • Support their journey of self-expression, and
    • Highlight the joy, fun and adventure of childhood.

For more information about the brand, visit CurlPeace.com. You can also join the JFM® Curl Peace ™ conversation on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (@JustForMeHair).



(From l to r) Fred Mitchel, UNCF Vice President Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West; Dawn W. Thompson, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Strength of Nature; Michael L. Lomax, UNCF President and CEO at the 19th Annual UNCF Chicago "A Mind Is..." gala  Courtesy of Levern A. Danley III

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