HILLSIDE, Ill. – To provide additional protections to students and individuals paying off their student loans, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, recently supported legislation that would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights in Illinois.
“Illinois’ college graduates on average total as much as $30,000 in student loan debt,” Welch said. “People do not go to college to earn a debt sentence only to be hampered by their payments and unable to build the future of their dreams. As chair of the House Higher Education Committee, my goal is to ease debt burdens for graduates while ensuring future students can look forward to job prospects, not the amount of debt they will owe. This measure would provide much-needed protections to those who are saddled with debt.”
Welch co-sponsored Senate Bill 1351, which in addition to establishing a Student Loan Bill of Rights, also creates a Student Loan Ombudsman within the Office of the Attorney General to assist students with any questions about the loan servicing process. The legislation also allows the Attorney General to enforce provisions that prohibit student loan servicers from engaging in unfair business practices. Finally, the legislation requires that all student loan vendors be licensed by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
“Graduates should not fear for their future and how to pay back their loans,” Welch said. “This is not the message we should be sending our students and graduates, and this measure with the assistance of the Attorney General’s office would help hold loan servicers accountable.”