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Biden's pause on student loan debt payments affects a lot of Ohioans

The Wright State University campus
Chris Welter
The Wright State University campus

Last month, the US Department of Education announcedthat it’s extending the pause on student loan payments until May. In 2020, around 60% of Ohio college graduates had student loan debt, according to a reportfrom the The Institute for College Access & Success.

Reilly Dixon of Yellow Springs is one Ohioan affected by the extension. Dixon, 29, works as a writer and designer for the Yellow Springs News. He took out close to sixty thousand dollars in student loans when he was in college, first at Kent State and then at Wright State after transferring.

He said he felt a lot of pressure to go to college after high school.

“The narrative that's been trotted out to most millennials is that the only way to get ahead in life is to go to college," Dixon said. Then, to be not only punished by following through with our expectation, but also to be chastised when we balk at the cost of following through with that expectation is very much a rock and a hard place kind of situation.”

Dixon hopes President Biden will decide to cancel student loan debt completely. Biden pledged on the campaign trail to cancel at least $10,000 of debt per person.

He also stated that, in hindsight, he didn’t completely understand the gravity of taking out loans at such a young age.

"I think it is unfair to expect an 18 year old whose frontal cortex is still pretty malleable and still forming to make a decades determining decision of taking on that much debt.”

Dixon believes Biden's temporary pause on payments has made his life better. He was even able to save up for an engagement ring for his girlfriend—she said yes. Now he has started to save for their wedding.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Chris Welter is the Managing Editor at The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Chris got his start in radio in 2017 when he completed a six-month training at the Center for Community Voices. Most recently, he worked as a substitute host and the Environment Reporter at WYSO.