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Briana Kidd realized the interest on her student loans was paused and saw a golden opportunity to pay down the principal. Living with her dad, working two jobs and routinely saving money allowed her to pay her balance down from $37,000 to $10,000. Andrew Palomo was able to adopt his now 16-month-old daughter Teresa. And although he’s been paying off his loans for nearly a decade, he still owes nearly $186,000 – “which is a house,” he said. 

In this episode, Erin Allen talks with WBEZ higher education reporter Lisa Philip about these two very different approaches to the pandemic-era student loan repayment pause – which ended this month – and what the return of loan payments means particularly for borrowers of color, both current borrowers and potential new ones, who may have changing views on the value of higher education.