Two northern Illinois Congress members are reacting to concerns about student loan debt. Representatives Lauren Underwood and Bill Foster were joined by administrators from public and private colleges.
Near the beginning of the event at Waubonsee Community College, Rep. Bill Foster (D-11) got up and recited the stats: 44 million students with debt over $1.5 trillion dollars.
“The big picture is there is enough money in this country to make a big dent in this problem,” said Foster.
Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-14) talked about how confusing the financial aid process can be and criticized lax student lending regulation.
“I don’t need to tell you that with Betsy DeVos in office, the situation for students and their families has gone from bad to worse,” she said. “Too many young people graduating today are finding themselves in a job market where wages haven’t kept up with inflation and cost of living.”
Neither support broad loan elimination or so-called “free college” proposals.
But Foster said he thinks student loan interest rates should be lowered and that forgiveness plans for public service employees should be expanded.
Underwood pointed out many parents feel the weight of student loans supporting their children.
The debt also includes many students who didn’t even finish their degrees.
Beth Ingram was a panelist at the event. She's Provost of Northern Illinois University. She says that’s one of her biggest concerns.