ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – After the U.S. Department of Education announced that at the request of President Joe Biden it will extend the pause on federal student loan payments, many struggling borrowers are breathing a sigh of relief.

Charles Horton, an Arlington resident is one North Texan who says the pause has helped him beyond belief.

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“I had about $12,000 in borrowed loans, maybe a little bit more,” said Horton.

He attended one year at Baylor University nearly a decade ago.

Little did he know the financial commitment would haunt him into adulthood.

“I’m 34 now,” Horton said. “The debt that I collected for that one year of study has basically just traveled with me my whole adult life.”

After his freshman year, he said he realized it wasn’t affordable and went back home to community college, but even then struggled to keep up with finances.

“I couldn’t risk getting more debt than what I already was in,” Horton said.

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The money piled up, and he didn’t finish.

Now years later, while still paying off his debt, he’s hit more financial strife.

“While I paid a little bit here and there, you know, life has just happened. I was laid off in August from my last job,” Horton said.

Like many, Horton has been relieved by the break on student loan payments that has been extended multiple times since March.

According to the Federal Reserve and Educationdata.org, there’s about 42 million Americans that will benefit from the pause who collectively owe more than $1.7 trillion in student debt.

With no requirement to pay and no interest accruing until September 30, Horton says he can finally get back on his feet.

“It’s life changing. It opens the doors for opportunity that may not have been there before,” he said.

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Nicole Nielsen