Seen above is Sen. Tom Cullerton at an unrelated event.
Senate Bill 1351 was approved by both the House and the Senate last summer before being vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner in August. Now it remains to be seen if the House will vote to override the governor’s veto when returning to session in November.
The bill aims to create a Student Loan Bill of Rights of sorts. It offers more protections for borrowers and their families from allegedly faulty practices by student loan servicers. The Student Loan Bill of Rights would require that borrowers receive clear and accurate information regarding their loans and how they are being serviced.
Cullerton expressed his disgust at the current state of student loans, stating that students should be able to graduate from college without burdensome amounts of debt. According to The Student Loan Report, the average Illinois graduate owes $19,000 in student loan debt.
Aside from better information, another aim is to crack down on certain practices that make it more difficult for borrowers to repay their loans. Servicers would be required to clearly inform borrowers about all their repayment options, including their chances for loan forgiveness in light of for-profit school issues.
In an effort to help Illinois students, Cullerton has also been pushing legislation aimed at cutting college administrative costs, claiming this will lower the overall expense of tuition according to the Senator’s press release. Cullerton argued that tuition money shouldn’t be paying for administrative perks, but instead should be invested in the education of Illinois students.
Cullerton is part of a growing number of state representatives who are trying to make a difference in the student loan crisis. As the national student loan debt continues to increase, many people feel the federal government has not done enough to combat this problem.
As a result, more states are implementing their own programs and rules to provide aid and protections for borrowers. If signed into law, Illinois will be the fourth state to enact a student loan bill of rights, joining California, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.
The Florida Senate passed legislation earlier this year, providing more financial aid to its students with the Bright Futures scholarship program. Furthermore, action taken in Minnesota would have aided borrowers during student loan repayment.
These are just a few efforts from several states. More have taken action this year. For instance, about 25 attorneys general appeal to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over state regulation rights and the student loan industry.