By Trang Do

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — La Salle University is the latest college in Philadelphia to announce it has cleared student balances using federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Two days ago, La Salle University sophomore Cas Borowitz received a phone call most could only dream of getting. Borowitz learned that she is one of 111 students whose outstanding Spring 2021 balances were reduced to zero, averaging about $4,700 per student.

Borowitz owed about $6,600 and was worried she’d have to drop out.

“I was a little emotional when I found out, but it was good tears and a source of happiness and stress relief for me,” she said.

The students’ total cleared debt amounted to more than $522,000. The university used Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) money awarded by the federal government to help institutions of higher learning stay afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic.

LaSalle Interim President Tim O’Shaughnessy said it was the right thing to do.

“It’s a fantastic feeling for me to be able to be a part of this,” O’Shaughnessy said. “My wife often points out and tries to encourage our family to look for silver linings that have come about due to the pandemic. I hope that this is one small silver lining to the students and families that we’re able to help.”

Last week, the Community College of Philadelphia paid off the outstanding balances of about 3,500 students to the tune of $2.75 million. Borowitz said she’s grateful that schools are helping students in such a big way after a tough year.

“I took up two jobs over the summer to kind of help, continue to finance my education, so just to know that 6,000 dollars is not a small sum of money, especially for a college student,” she said. “Just to know that that was something that I didn’t have to worry about in the future helped ease a lot of stress.”