CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan organized a forum at Southern Illinois University discuss a topic that affects many people - student loans.
Madigan along with education advocates are urging lawmakers to override the governors veto of the SB1351, also known as the Student Loan Bill of Rights.
According to Madigan, this legislation would better protect borrowers from abuses in the student loan industry. Madigan said, the bill also addresses the widespread abuses and failures in the student loan industry that were revealed by her investigation and lawsuit. Madigan took legal action against one the country's largest student loan serving companies, Navient. However, Navient has called the allegations "unfounded" (their statement).
Madigan said that one-in-hour student loan borrowers are behind in payment or in default, she explains these numbers.
"Here in IL, we have a significant number of people who are struggling. The student loan debt crisis is happening throughout the country," Madigan said. "There are over 44 million Americans who hold over 1.4 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt. It is the largest amount of unsecured debt that people hold right now in our country."
Attorney General Madigan explained how the debt impacts not only students, but also parents and grandparents.
There are federal income-based repayment options available, but the U.S. Treasury has reported that only 20 percent of eligible borrowers are enrolled in these options.
The Attorney General created a free Student Loan Helpline to provide student borrowers with information and resources about repayment options at 1-800-455-2456 or visit her website.