“I really don’t ask people for things, so I was second guessing doing it in the first place.”
We’re talking to Dylan Wethey, a sales and reporting analyst at T-CETRA, about his decision to post on LinkedIn about his student loan debt.
Dylan and his wife have five children under the age of seven, including two 10-month-old twins. They both work from home, and Dylan balances his job with taking care of their younger kiddos. “I am our childcare,” he says.
Dylan’s entire demeanor is one of gratitude — for a job that gives him the flexibility to work from home and avoid the cost of childcare, for an apartment that backs up to the elementary school’s playground, for a wife that found such a well-located apartment, for the ability to take his kids to doctor’s appointments when they need them.
He doesn’t complain about the fact that he has to get out the door at 5:30 or 6:00 am every other Wednesday and drive his infant son an hour to the physical therapist’s office. (He had a brain bleed in utero and has a bevy of specialists). Nope, he just appreciates that the therapist has an early appointment for him so Dylan can get to work straight away when they get home.
He’s also honest about what they’re capable of. He was struggling to make his monthly student loan payments before the pandemic began. The repayment freeze of his $80,000 in student loans was a welcome reprieve. It looks like he’ll owe about $450 a month once repayment begins in January. “I don’t have the ability to pay $450 a month right now,” Dylan says.
Dylan’s road to $80k in student debt isn’t that unusual. He started out going to a D3 school to play football. He got a couple academic scholarships but hurt his knee and couldn’t play anymore. He moved around to a few different colleges, changing his major each time, trying to figure out what made sense for him.
He switched to an online program when his wife got pregnant so he could work and help with the baby. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 2018 from Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
But after graduating, he faced a relatively dismal job market. His business administration degree wasn’t specific enough to set his skills apart from everyone else with a college degree.
He got a job in sales. It was fine enough, but what he really enjoyed were the numbers. A friend suggested he look into doing something with data, so he started exploring. His wife had just gone back to college through an online program at Maryville University of Saint Louis, and they had a masters program in data analytics. Dylan got a job with a fintech company and graduated with his Masters in Computer Science with a focus in data analytics in May of this year, five months after their twins were born.
Dylan learned about Dolr’s Your Village when he started getting student loan benefits from his employer T-CETRA, a fintech company based in Dublin, OH. Through Dolr’s employer student loan repayment program, T-CETRA pays $100 per month toward the student loans of any full-time employee who has student loan debt.
Dylan loves that his employer provides help with his student loans. “Even now that they’re frozen, they’re still making the payments on it, which has been great because I certainly haven’t been.” Dylan had only ever heard of companies helping people go back to school — not paying money toward student debt. “You don’t even have to have a degree toward your job. They just said if you went to school and have debt, fill this out. Boom. It was the easiest five minutes of my life.”
With his customary mix of tenacity and appreciation, Dylan saw Dolr’s Village, which creates an easy platform for borrowers to receive student loan repayment contributions from friends and family, and decided to try it out.
It wasn’t an easy decision. “My entire life growing up, it wasn’t totally taboo to talk about needing help. But it definitely wasn’t encouraged,” Dylan says. “My dad was in the military, so he was a very self-sufficient person.”
Ultimately, he decided to give it a go. “I might as well throw it out there, and if I get anything from it, then awesome. If I don’t, then I’m in the same position I was in before.” It was important to Dylan that people understood he wasn’t begging for help — just providing the option — and that he’s ready to help others whenever and however he can.
We’re here for all of it. Parents trying to build better lives for their kids. People improving their skills and finding work they enjoy. Community-minded folks asking for help when they need it and offering help when they can. That’s the Dolr way.
If your employer isn’t offering student loan repayment benefits, let us help you make that happen.