NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Wednesday, Tennessee State University announced that they will be paying off the account balances for returning students coming to campus in the fall to “allow students to return to campus with their full attention on academics and campus life since being away because of COVID-19.”

According to a school spokesperson, the ‘account balance forgiveness initiative’ applies only to returning students who were enrolled Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021.

“Instead of visiting the financial aid office, desperately seeking funds to cover previous school debt, the institution is wiping the slate clean,” said the school spokesperson in a statement.

“We are keenly aware that the number one reason that students do not return to college is lack of funds,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Paying off account balances for our students will relieve some of the financial stress that they have and allow them to focus on studying and completing their degrees. At TSU, we pride ourselves in going that extra mile to assist our students. And that’s precisely what we are doing by paying student balances.”

The funds to pay off all students outstanding balances reportedly come from the federal CARES Act passed in March 2020, and “much needed additional funds were provided to educational institutions” earlier this year.

TSU reportedly used CARES Act funding to assist students in May 2020 due to COVID-19 also. The school plans to be fully operational for the Fall semester and they are expecting their largest freshman class in five years.