student loans

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In Illinois, public college and university students and their guardians will soon have a better idea of how much they’ve borrowed -- and an estimate of how much they’ll be paying back per month.

That’s thanks to a state pilot program. The letters relay information on federal, private and institutional loans.

Bobbi Smith is the interim director of financial aid at Western Illinois University.

Peter Medlin

The Partnership for College Completion held an event at Northern Illinois University discussing their new reports on the cost of college, specifically for black students.

Along with university officials and local lawmakers, several black NIU students came to the event to talk about their own challenges paying for school.

Gabrielle Sims is a junior at NIU.

Logo design by Spencer Tritt

She works with teenagers and young adult students with autism. She also happens to be a comedy writer. And she moonlights on top of that as an indie musician. She says her work has been described as a "girls' night out with Kacey Musgraves and Alison Krauss." On this episode of Teachers' Lounge we talked to Cora Vasseur about how all of that happened, and how her art influences her work with special needs students -- and vice versa.   

Also on the show, a conversation about student debt forgiveness; and two prominent Illinois politicians weigh in on the debt crisis.

Peter Medlin

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.

Austin Hansen, Ross Beach

Student debt forgiveness has quickly risen from the fringes and become one of the most widely discussed topics going into the 2020 election.

 

Right now over 44 million Americans have student loans worth about $1.5 trillion

 

Many of the Democratic candidates for president have begun floating their plans to forgive some student loans or eliminate them entirely. 

Garrett Wise graduated from Northern Illinois University just over three years ago. As he strode across the stage and collected his Bachelor's degree in applied physics, he knew that, like most students, he accumulated student loan debt. He just didn't know how bad it was.

Every student who takes out federal student loans must complete so-called "exit counseling" after they graduate and before their first bill comes due. This is where Wise found out how much he'd pay per month and how much money the government expected him to make per year.

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Some college students were unsure they’d be able to pay their tuition on time, due to the government shutdown.

A bill headed to the governor’s desk would help protect students who take out loans.

The “Student Loan Bill of Rights” requires lenders to explain repayment options to struggling borrowers as well as inform graduates how their loan could be forgiven under certain circumstances. It’s sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie, who says the bill also sets up a student-loan ombudsman in addition to a state licensing regime for student-loan servicers.

"If we see a servicer not doing what they ought to be doing, we can pull that license and send them out of business," he said.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is pushing legislation aimed at protecting Illinois students who take out college loans.

The plan would establish a “student loan bill of rights” outlining information that companies have to provide to borrowers, including all repayment options. It also would require student-loan servicers to get a state license and create a student-loan ombudsman in the attorney general's office.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says student borrowers dealing with mounting loan debt are making up a greater number of consumer complaints to her office.

Madigan released her annual top-ten list of such complaints on Monday. She says consumer debt and identity theft were the top two issues drawing complaints for the ninth straight year.

The attorney general's office reports receiving nearly 24,000 complaints during 2016. Nearly 1,700 education-related complaints were the sixth-most common last year, up one spot from 2015.

"170 - Typing" by Flickr User Hillary / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office is suing the nation's largest student loan company, alleging unfair and deceptive practices with lending and debt collection.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County seeks restitution and penalties. It names Navient Corporation and subsidiaries, including Sallie Mae Bank.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a separate lawsuit Wednesday, alleging Navient made it harder to repay loans by giving bad information, processing payments incorrectly and failing to address complaints.

WalletHub.com

Student loan debt in the United States stands at about $1.3 trillion, and it’s growing by more than $2,700 per second, according to a report by MarketWatch.

It’s been a political football in Congress and on the campaign trail as officeholders and candidates debate what should or should not be allowed in financing and refinancing student loans.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing two companies for allegedly scamming people with student loan debt.

Around Illinois -- May 14

May 14, 2012

  • O’Hare cargo deal to create thousands of jobs
  • Will legislature adjourn on time?
  • Student loan rate hike hits Illinois hard
  • Police mark one year in search for boy
  • Ponzi schemer must repay and do time