As roughly 3.9 million people in the US get ready to strut across a stage at a college or university graduation with a diploma in hand, they may not realize that they can't truly celebrate until they pay off their student loans.
Many grads will join over 44 million Americans with student debt, totaling $1.5 trillion, according to personal finance company SoFi. It’s no surprise, then, that graduating from debt can feel just as momentous as graduating from school.
SoFi made that moment of relief from student debt a grand occasion for one Midwestern woman, captured in a video. The company surprised Candice, a SoFi member who had refinanced her student debt, with an epic surprise “debt graduation” ceremony with friends, family, and some unconventional surprises planned by the company, together with production and entertainment studio Genpop.
“We hear from our members that the day they pay off their student loans is a proud, but anticlimactic one because it’s hardly recognized,” said Joanne Bradford, chief marketing officer of SoFi. “At SoFi, we celebrate our members and their triumph over student loan debt so they can always remember their incredible achievement.”
The video shows Candice, who thought she was being flown to Malibu, CA, for a SoFi community member event, as she goes from being greeted by a marching band, seeing her friends and family who had been secretly flown in and donning a purple graduation cap and gown. Then we see her taking in a special dance squad by celebrity choreographer Richy Jackson, her own private graduation ceremony with Instagram-famous dog JiffPom, to finally taking off in a SoFi branded hot air balloon.
“I loved collaborating with the team at SoFi to bring this film to life,” said Ben Conrad, director at GenPop. “With our background in shareable content paired with viral production knowledge, the GenPop team was able to work with SoFi to craft a film that sparks a real brand connection and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer."
Candice took on student loan debt to attend law school. By refinancing her student loans with SoFi, she was able to pay off the loans in two years, and SoFi hosted the stunt to draw attention to recent grads that paying off their student loans in a reasonable time can be a reality.
“I've never had any company treat me like a rock star,” said Candice. “I hoped for a SoFi sweatshirt and instead got the most epic surprise.”