Anonymous donor pays off family's student loan debt

Rhonda Hess, a teacher, had written to a magazine criticising a contest that offered $1 billion to the winner, saying it was unfair to give a single person so much  when so many families were struggling

Ohio: After a woman struggling with her family’s debt wrote to the magazine Business Insider, an anonymous man, identified only as a partner at a hedge fund, offered to pay off their student loan debt.

In her letter, Rhonda Hess, a retired teacher, complained to Business Insider about Warren Buffett’s March Madness contest, in which he plans to give $1 billion to anyone who fills out a perfect The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament bracket.

In her letter, retired kindergarten teacher Hess and mother of three other teachers thoughtfully laid out her frustration that such a huge sum would be rewarded for what amounts to dumb luck, and detailed her family’s concerns about paying off their sons’ college loans.

She wrote that it was a trivial reason to give one person $1 billion, when so many families, like her own, struggle to pay off debts.

After reading Hess’ letter, the hedge fund employee was struck by her story, and contacted the outlet with his generous offer.
He told Business Insider that he had been moved by the parallels between the Hess family and his own — he also has three sons — as well as the devotion to teaching demonstrated by the entire Hess family.

He explained that the story came out at a time where he was feeling particularly fortunate, and that it felt inequitable to him that families like the Hesses should have to struggle.

Hess has confirmed that two of her sons’ college loans were completely paid off.

The letter that started it all

“Now we worry about things like how we are we ever going to replace the roof or the furnace when they quit. Any type of health issue would be devastating. Our finances depend totally on our prayer life and we are very thankful, God has been faithful. Why couldn’t Mr Buffett’s organisation instead of giving a billion dollars to one lucky person for something as frivolous as a basketball bracket (and I had 3 sons that played the game and love it) ... help LOTS of families that struggle to always do the right thing and never seem to get a break on the hardwood court of life?”

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  • Kevin20-Mar-2014

    Lucky her. Really and truly. But honestly, this story is frustrating. There's a long line--over a trillion dollars' worth--of other mothers and sons fighting to keep their heads above water. This is a systemic issue, and paying off two random people's debt doesn't help it. Signed, a college dropout whose mom is a teacher's assistant (pre-K) and is struggling with my student debt heading into old age.

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