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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Bank Surprises Single Mom by Paying Off Her $150K Student Loan Debt

Jasmin Ford, single mom debt paid off

Jasmin Ford, a single mom from Chicago, hugs Mike Crawford, senior digital product manager at Fifth Third Bank

Chicago, IL — Jasmin Ford, a 30-year old single mother from Chicago, recently received a “life-changing” gift when Fifth Third Bank surprised her by paying off her student loan debt amounting to $150,000. Ford, who is now working as a nurse, says she is extremely grateful and now she can do more in her career.

“I still can’t find the words,” Ford told Good Morning America. “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.”

In 2011, Ford received her bachelor’s degree and became the first one to graduate from college in her family. A few years later, she returned to school to get her nursing degree. She had to take out student loans to cover her rent, food, as well as her tuition because she can’t depend on her family for financial assistance. She eventually finished her Master’s degree in 2015, however, she couldn’t imagine how she could pay off her huge debt.

“I could not foresee when I’d be able to pay it off,” Ford said. “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 was chosen to be a part of a documentary about student loan debt that the Ohio-based bank was shooting. She was surprised when she thought that the crew will be back to shoot some additional video but they actually had great news for her.

“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, and I got to be in a documentary and I met some amazing people on the way.”

Mike Crawford, senior digital product manager at Fifth Third Bank, said that they saw the perseverance in Ford and her willingness to give back to the community that’s why they chose her.

“Her story was just so compelling and 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,” Crawford said. “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.”

As a nurse, she hopes now that she is debt-free, she can use her career to give back and “pay it forward.” She said her son Caleb, who will turn 2 in February, would have his life changed as well because she will be “able to offer that to him more than anything else because he deserves it.”

She said, “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. 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.”

Watch the local news coverage below: