Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and supermodel Miranda Kerr surprised 285 art school students with a graduation gift: paying off college debt

  • Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr paid off student loan debt for 285 art college graduates in Los Angeles.
  • Spiegel attended summer school at the school, Otis College of Art and Design, as a high school student.

Recent Los Angeles art school grads had 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 model and founder of skincare brand Kora Organics, made a multimillion-dollar donation Sunday to the Otis College of Art and Design. The donation will cover the outstanding student debt of the 285 graduates of the class of 2022.

Otis College has not disclosed the exact amount of the donation, except to say in a press release that it is the largest donation in Otis College’s 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, president of the school, said in a statement. “We hope this donation will bring them much-needed relief and enable them to pursue their aspirations and careers, to further this generosity, and to become the next leaders of our community.”

Spiegel attended summer school 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 growing up surrounded by super talented artists and designers, and we were all in it together.”

Spiegel and Kerr received honorary degrees from Otis College on Sunday alongside Netflix’s “Queer Eye” host Bobby Berk. Berk wrote in an Instagram post that it was an honor to sit next to Spiegel and Kerr as they announced they would be paying off graduate debt.

“What a beautiful moment watching the faces of these students and families as they went deep in the fact that they are not only walking away with a degree they worked so hard for, but also walking away 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 broke.

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

Student loan debt remains a $1.7 trillion crisis in the United States – an estimated 43.4 million borrowers have federal student loan debt. According to the Education Data Initiative, students borrow an average of $30,030 to earn a bachelor’s degree at a public university, and some are in debt for life.

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

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

Kayleen C. Rice