Good samaritans across the country have rallied to help a Pastor's family pay off nearly $200,000 in student loan debt accrued by their dead daughter who was studying to be a nurse.
Pastor Steve Mason and his wife Darnelle took in their three grandchildren when daughter Lisa, 27, died of liver failure last year. The family was hit hard when they learned that the $100,000 student loan that Lisa had taken out that her father co-signed for still needed to be paid off, despite the fact that Lisa had passed away. Unable to pay the loan on a pastor's salary while raising three children, the loan amount ballooned to $200,000.
CNN ran a story on the Mason's plight, which generated a great deal of interest and support for the family. A GoFundMe page, where anyone can donate to a person or organization, was set up, and so far has raised nearly $13,000 for the Mason family.
"We've been totally blown away," Pastor Mason told CNN. "It's so encouraging to realize there's a lot of good people out there."
In addition to the money raised by their supporters to pay off the debt, the loan providers have reached out to the family to try and help. One private lender, Navient Corp., lowered the interest rate to 0 percent on three of the four loans and also reduced the amount due to $27,000 from $35,000. Another debt collection agency has also reached out and told the family that it wants to forgive the loan balance of $15,000.
Private loan agencies do not have to do such things, which makes this story completely unique. The Mason family had considered filing for bankruptcy but student loans are rarely discharged in bankruptcy.
"For the first time since our daughter's death, we have a little bit of hope," Pastor Mason said.