If you read much economic news, you already know that the figures when it comes to student debt are staggering.
According to data from 2016, the average undergraduate college student will graduate with $28,446 in debt. As of 2018, college students around America owe $1.5 trillion dollars! It’s not easy to begin your life when you have that much debt to pay down and a potentially unstable place in the job market. While college students in liberal arts programs can be sure to pay about that much money, it’s even more certain that nursing students and others trying to enter the medical field will take on even more debt.
That was the case for the woman in this miraculous story.
Jasmin Ford is a 30-year-old nurse and single mother living in Chicago who had approximately $150,000 in student loan debt.
Though she was in school nearly 12 years ago, Ford has been working hard ever since to pay down the debt and raise her son, Caleb. Although she says she’s grateful to be working in the field she’s in, that much debt would be a serious imposition for anyone to deal with. In total, Ford works two jobs, six days a week and is the first in her family to go to college.
Although she’d been working as hard as possible to reduce the debt, she said there was still no way to see a timeline where she was out of debt.
Fortunately, she received a truly life-changing surprise from Fifth Third Bank.
It all started because Fifth Third Bank decided to do a documentary about student loan debt in America, a documentary that Ford was participating in. The documentary was part of a project aimed at raising awareness for Fifth Third Bank’s new banking program, a program that rounds up debit card purchases and applies the remainder to participants’ student loan debt.
For her part, Ford was already excited enough just to be participating in the video project.
The initiative was organized by Mike Crawford, a digital product manager at the bank who helped overview subjects for the documentary.
After some research, Crawford knew that Ford was a great candidate to receive help with her student loan debt. “Her story was just so compelling,” Crawford said. “She’s such a passionate person who’s focused on changing the world and giving back. We just felt like we had to do this for her . . . She’s one of those people that we expect to be a ripple in the pond. If you make a difference for her, you make a difference for the community.”
With all that in mind, Crawford showed up at Ford’s house with a camera crew in tow.
As mentioned, Ford was already excited enough to be featured in the production—without knowing what a huge surprise was in store.
“The documentary in itself was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “ I’m a South Side of Chicago nurse and I have a kid, that in itself is not that exciting.” When Crawford came in that day, the surprise was finally revealed. Crawford walked in the living room and began the announcement. “On behalf of the Fifth Third Bank and the Fifth Third Momentum app team,” he said, “Fifth Third is paying off all of your student loans today.”
Needless to say, Ford is absolutely speechless when she hears the news!
At first, Ford almost can’t believe what she’s hearing—still, it turns out to be completely true!
According to Ford, the bank’s gift is going to completely change her life. “I can start over,” she said. “I can be the nurse I want to be, the human being that I want to be. The entire direction of my life I think—I know—has been changed.” While Ford’s case is definitely in the minority, Fifth Third Bank plans on raising awareness in general about millennial student loan debt while also promising to offer similar scholarships for a few more people this year!
For their part, Fifth Third Bank is definitely hoping that their momentum program will draw in millennial customers.
Above all, Ford is certainly lucky to take advantage of this huge giveaway!
While massive student loan debt is a burden that many of us face, not all of us will have it relieved as miraculously as Ford did. Still, after hearing her inspiring story, it’s clear that she definitely deserves it! The rest of us will have to keep reading books about financial literacy, saving and chipping away at it a dollar at a time!
Congratulations to Jasmin and Caleb!
Watch the full video below.
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