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Potential student loan relief would affect northwest Ohio

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 11:20 AM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Lately, the issue of eliminating federal student loan debt has heated up. President Joe Biden is in favor of forgiving about $10,000 in debt, though some members of Congress want him to sign an executive order bringing that number to $50,000.

Student loan forgiveness, if it happens, could have a major effect in Northwest Ohio. Ohio is the state with the highest number of indebted student loan borrowers per capita, according to EducationData.org.

“I might have another 10-15 years to pay off my student loans. I may be close to retirement when my student loans are 100% paid for. I can’t look into thinking about buying a house that I actually own, I can’t think about saving up for retirement. I can’t go on vacation,” says borrower Stephanie Hunker.

Ohio is home to 1.7 million student loan borrowers owing a total of $60 billion in loans, making up about 14% of the population, per Education Data.

This comes out to an average of about $34,600 per borrower. This means that forgiving $50,000 for each borrower would make a lot of Ohioans free of student-debt entirely, which would have a ripple effect on the local economy.

“Average starting salary for people in Toledo is around $40,000 a year out of college, which is why many people graduating college can’t move back to Toledo because they’d get paid more if they move other places, and they have to service these student loan debts that they have. They want to pay them down, but they can’t do it if they move back to Toledo, so student loans like this are killing Toledo,” says attorney Scott Ciolek, who specializes in student loans.

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