Art students find out their debt is cleared at graduation

2022 graduating class of Otis College of Art and Design were stunned to find out their outstanding student debt would be cleared.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On Sunday, 285 students gathered to celebrate their graduation from Otis College of Art and Design, but what they didn't know is that they would leave celebrating even more.

"I was just so confused at the beginning," said Farhan Fallahifiroozi, an Otis College 2022 graduate. "When he explained, I was like, 'So all of it, like, all the loans?'"

"We were graduating," said Yaritza Velazquez-Medina, another Otis college 2022 grad. "We were finally receiving our diplomas after four years and then at the very end, we received news that we would be fully covered for our tuition and all the loans would be paid in full."

At the end of the ceremony, students were stunned to find out that honorary degree recipients Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel donated through the Spiegel Family Fund for the repayment of outstanding student debt for the entire graduating class of 2022.

Kerr is a model and the CEO of KORA Organics and Spiegel is the founder and CEO of Snap Inc., and he also took classes at Otis College as a high school student prior to enrolling at Stanford University.

"I had the privilege of announcing it at commencement yesterday," said Charles Hirschhorn, president of Otis College. "And as you can imagine, the room just erupted in joy, relief, euphoria, excitement. It was a very moving moment."

"I didn't even know what to think at that moment," said Fallahifiroozi. "It was just the best graduation gift ever. Like it couldn't get any better. You know?"

This gift is the largest single gift in the history of Otis college. Students say not having to worry about repaying student loans puts them that much closer to accomplishing all of their goals.

"I don't know what I'll do in 10 years, but the fact that I can have that possibility of thinking that I can do things it means a lot," said Velazquez-Medina. "It's a new beginning."

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