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North Carolina man pays off $28,000 student loan in full – ‘I can’t describe how happy he is’


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For nearly two decades, Bruce Paulson, a digital marketing expert, worked hard to pay off his nearly $28,000 student loan debt.

“It took me 19 and a half years to pay for it all,” he told Fox News Digital of his accomplishment.

Although it’s a long period of time, he also noted, “If I hadn’t made the extra payments towards capital in those early years, it would have taken a lot longer.”

Based in North Carolina, Paulson, 42, recently received confirmation from Navient, the financial services company that serviced his loan, that he had paid off his student loan debt in full.

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“I can’t describe how happy I was,” he said. “I never thought the day would come when I would pay back all the money I owed plus interest.”

In addition to making extra payments early on, Paulson credits the automatic payment plan for his success in completely getting rid of his debt.

Bruce Paulson of Durham, North Carolina, said he “never thought the day would come” when he could actually pay off every penny he owed on his student loans.
(Bruce Paulson)

He said he set it up shortly after graduating in 2002 from Appalachian State University, located in the middle of North Carolina’s legendary Blue Ridge Mountains.

Over time, however, reducing his student loan became more difficult for him, he said.

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“Eventually my loan was sold to another bank and their website wasn’t as easy to use. It became more difficult,” he said, “to pay extra for the principal.”

“With Navient,” he added, “I just quit automatic payments [plan] on” and continued to shed debt bit by bit that way, he said.

North Carolina man pays off ,000 student loan in full – ‘I can’t describe how happy he is’

Bruce Paulson told Fox News Digital that he wondered at one point “why did I spend four years in school and have a huge amount of money to pay back” afterwards.
(Bruce Paulson)

Navient, the Delaware-based company that manages and collects student loans, told Fox News Digital that borrowers, using its online portal, “can make additional payments toward principal when they pay additional payments.”

“The goal in life was to ski in the high mountains”

Seeking independence and financial freedom, Paulson said he’s held a variety of jobs over the years.

One of them included selling wine in Napa Valley – but he struggled to get by, especially in the beginning, when he only aspired to snow ski.

“I didn’t have any dollars when I graduated from college, and I couldn’t get used to the thought of owing almost $30,000.”

“My goal in life was to ski big mountains,” he said.

Struggling with that student loan, he said he put that dream on hold.

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He also “started wondering why I had just spent four years in school and had a huge amount of money to pay back, and I didn’t know how,” Paulson explained.

“I didn’t have any skills that the job market valued,” he said. “I had no dollars when I graduated from college, and I couldn’t get used to the idea of ​​owing almost $30,000. It made me nervous even to think about it.”

North Carolina man pays off ,000 student loan in full – ‘I can’t describe how happy he is’

North Carolina’s Bruce Paulson sold wine in Napa Valley for a while, he told Fox News Digital – but he struggled to get by.
(Bruce Paulson)

Paulson’s heartfelt vision of the university goes against the dominant narrative among many today that higher education is essential to success.

After a series of career setbacks, Paulson finally founded Determined Solutions in 2015. The company specializes in search engine optimization — and glowing customer testimonials abound on his company’s website (DeterminedSolutions.com).

“The market, for the most part, doesn’t appreciate college. No client I’ve ever had cared about me going to college. They never even asked me.”

“I’m in the best place I’ve been with my business right now, and I keep getting more and more opportunities. And that’s really awesome,” he said.

Paulson’s unorthodox outlook on college offers a cautionary tale for those wary of taking on student loan debt.

“The market, for the most part, doesn’t like college,” Paulson said. “No client I’ve ever had cared about me going to college. They never even asked me. They only cared about how I could help them. And that’s the reality of life.”

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Even with a bachelor of science in business administration, Paulson said nothing he learned in college was relevant to the real world or to running a business for him.

“Going to college and getting student loans was the biggest financial mistake I ever made,” he said bluntly.

“Taking responsibility for my mistake and finally paying for it has been great for me.”

“But ever since I did it when I was young, I accepted it was my mistake and my responsibility to fix it,” he said.

“It’s helped me tremendously throughout my life. Taking responsibility for my mistake and finally paying for it has been great for me,” he said.

North Carolina man pays off ,000 student loan in full – ‘I can’t describe how happy he is’

On the second anniversary of the suspension of student loan payments, the group We The 45M uses signs and projections outside the United States Department of Education to celebrate the pause and ask the Secretary of Education Cardona to cancel student debt on March 14, 2022 in Washington, DC
(Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We 45 Million)

Paulson said he never considered defaulting on his student loan.

“I didn’t even know it was possible,” he said.

He said he was “super broke for many years — and I lived in a little studio apartment in Lake Tahoe, making $8 an hour. I ate canned food and Ramen noodles,” he said. he said about his stay in Nevada.

“The only person who could break and devalue my word was myself – and I wasn’t going to do that.”

He added: “All a person really has in this life is their word. I may have been broke, but I still had my word, which to me is very valuable.”

“The only person who could break and devalue my word was myself – and I wasn’t going to do that.”

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With her student loan now paid off in full, Paulson continues to have mixed feelings. Does he regret going to college?

“Yes and no,” he answered. “College was not the right choice for me.”

“It was a mistake,” he also said. “But I learned from that. I’m a bit stubborn. I have to make mistakes to learn.”

“I will be able to navigate adverse economic conditions much better than the average person.”

Paulson added: “By living within my means and having no debt [now], I have a level of freedom that most people I know don’t have. I will be able to navigate adverse economic conditions much better than the average person.”

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Paulson also underscored these key points: “If the government cancels someone’s student loans or reallocates a student loan liability to someone else, then the person who took out the loan will learn nothing of his error. What is the consequence?”

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“The person will likely make even bigger mistakes in the future. Also, the person will break their word.”

“I don’t see,” he also said, “how a situation like this sets someone up for future success.”


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