The Daily Northwestern

State Senate passes ‘student loan bill of rights’

Ryan Wangman, Assistant City Editor

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The Illinois Senate passed a bill Wednesday to establish protections for borrowers of student loans.

The bill, which was introduced by state Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) in February, will ensure students and their families receive sufficient information about the money they borrow to pay for higher education. Biss has called the legislation a “student loan bill of rights.”

Biss, who is running for governor, voiced his support for the bill in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon: “Higher education shouldn’t saddle students with crushing debt bc of confusing small print & that’s why this bill is an important first step.”

In a video posted on his website, Biss called the issue of student loan debt an “absolute catastrophe.”

“People are coming out of college with such a debt burden that their whole life choices afterwards are completely determined by what enables them to pay down that debt,” Biss said in the video.

Collection agencies for student debt need to be held accountable for their actions and need to follow certain basic guidelines, Biss said in the video. He said the federal government is not doing its job when it comes to handling student debt.

The topic of student debt has increased in national conversations recently, as in April when secretary of education Betsy DeVos withdrew student loan protections put in place by the Obama administration. Those protections required the government’s Federal Student Aid office to do more to help borrowers manage, or even discharge, their debt.

“The fact that the student loan industry sent high-powered lobbyists to Springfield to fight against these practical, commonsense protections for middle- and low-income families tells me that we’re on the right track with this legislation,” Biss said in a news release.

Email: ryanw@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ryanwangman

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