A 30-year-old nurse and single mother with $ 150,000 in student loan debt received an absolutely life-changing surprise on Wednesday.
Jasmin Ford was surprised with the news that Fifth Third Bank was going to be paying off her student loans entirely. “I still can’t find the words,” the mother said on Thursday. “I’m off work again today and I’m just sort of pacing around and restless because I know my life is going to change.”
Ford is a Chicago native and was the first in her family to graduate from college. She received her bachelor’s degree in 2011 and then became a nurse three years later after going back to school for her nursing degree. She finished her Master’s degree in nursing in 2015. With no family assistance, she said she had to take out student loans in order to cover necessities like food and rent in addition to tuition.
“I could not foresee when I’d be able to pay it off,” Ford said of her debt. “I just knew this was going to be a part of my life as long as I was alive unless there was some significant change, which — wow.” Ford said she now envisions being able to use her nursing career to give back even more and “pay it forward.”
“I just imagine being able to spend more time physically with my family, not having to hustle, having mental freedom and with that, some spiritual freedom,” she said. “I can open myself to more experiences, opportunities and just be able to sit and be with my thoughts and be able to pursue what it is I came to do.”
She also said that life will change for her son, Caleb, who is going to turn 2 in February. While struggling to pay back her debt, Ford worked nearly every day of the week at two jobs. “His life will be totally different,” she said. “I’m so happy and so proud that I’m able to offer that to him more than anything else because he deserves it.”
Jasmine Ford was surprised by Fifth Third Bank after being chosen to participate in a documentary that the Ohio-based bank was producing on the student loan debt. She didn’t know she was being awarded $ 150K for her loans, because she thought the film crew was simply coming back to her home on Wednesday to shoot some additional video.
Next year, Fifth Third Bank plans to pay off student debt for two more people. The bank will pay off loans of up to $ 39,000 for two users of Fifth Third Momentum, the bank’s student loan initiative that rounds up a customer’s debit card purchases and applies it to their student loan balance.