Many dream of having their student loan debt forgiven but most aren’t sure, if such a gift, even exists. The idea of no longer dodging creditors calls, scraping to reallocate money where there’s little , or hesitating to continue your education for fear of loans to come, would bring a sigh of relief to many millennials today, pondering, “Will I ever be debt free?”
Well, for 26 year old production assistant, Rhea Shannon, the answer is yes. Her $54,000 dollars student loan debt was recently forgiven, after JPMorgan Chase got wind of a heart wrenching story Shannon shared in a CNN confession booth, set up for young graduate to talk about their finances.
According to CNN Money, Shannon shared the story of her father, a Marine, who died while on active duty in Afghanistan during her senior year of college. Her father, who had co-signed the debt, was also her biggest hero. In fact, Shannon’s going to college was such a big deal to him that he had re-enlisted in the Marines to help pay for it.
Two hours after the story was published on CNNMoney, Shannon got a phone call from Ashlynne Haycock at Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, also known as TAPS.
Haycock, who related to Shannon’s story, called to inform her that there was a way to wipe her dept clean. It happened that Shannons loans were borrowed through JPMorgan Chase, a partner of TAPS.
Shannon told CNN, “I was at my desk on the phone and tears were coming down…I was like, ‘Is this really happening?'”
With the exchange of a few emails the debt was wiped clear through JPMorgan Chase’s Military Survivor Program. Since the program started in 2013, JPMorgan has forgiven $4.3 million in student loans, car loans, mortgages, and credit card debt held by fallen service members.
Though most students journey to “the debt free life” may not happen as miraculously as Shannon’s, her story provides a glimpse of hope that undoubtedly sheds light on available, and somewhat unknown, resources that may lighten your student loan load.
In 2009, President Obama reformed the William D. Ford Direct Loan program, a federal student loan forgiveness program lightening the financial burden of recent grads.
Here are some of the changes that were made by President Obama:
- The federal government will no longer give subsidies to private lending institutions for federally backed loans.
- Borrowers of new loans starting in 2014 will qualify to make payments based on 10% of their discretionary income.
- New borrowers would also be eligible for student loan forgiveness after 20 years instead of 25 on qualifying payments.
- -Money will be used to fund poor and minority students and increase college funding
As for Shannon, she’s ecstatic to have a fresh start and says the only thing she can think to say is, “Thank you God and thank you Dad.”