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SB1351

  • biss 031517SPRINGFIELD – Senator Daniel Biss’ groundbreaking measure to protect Illinois college students from crushing education debt advanced out of a Senate committee on Wednesday.

    Senate Bill 1351 establishes the Student Loan Bill of Rights in Illinois to provide as much protection as possible for student borrowers, a population that frequently is targeted by bad actors in the student loan industry.

    “At a time when a quarter of student loan borrowers are behind in their payments, we need to make sure borrowers understand their rights and have access to resources that will prevent them from defaulting on their loans,” Biss said. “I am pleased to work with Attorney General Lisa Madigan on behalf of student borrowers, and I encourage each of my colleagues to support this measure.”

    The Student Loan Bill of Rights would help to ensure students and their families receive clear information about the money they borrow for higher education and how their student loans are serviced. Among the protections offered in the legislation:

    • Requires student loan services to provide specialized employees to assist borrowers with questions about loan payments, explain repayment options and evaluate a borrower’s financial situation to determine which payment plan is appropriate.
    • Requires loan servicers to give borrowers accurate information on billing statements and properly process borrowers’ payments, and bars servicers from charging unreasonable fees.
    • Requires loan servicers to tell borrowers when and how their federal loans may be discharged due to a borrower’s disability or a problem with the school the borrower attended.
    • Requires loan servicers to provide information so cosigners know the conditions of being released from their obligations.
    • Requires servicers to follow procedures when a loan is transferred to a new servicer to ensure continuity and ensure borrowers’ payments are properly handled.
    • Ensures borrowers have the right to request information and file account disputes with their servicer and appeal any servicer determination.
    • Creates a student loan ombudsman in the office of the attorney general to assist borrowers with student loans.
    • Establishes a student loan servicing license with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to qualify, oversee and discipline services for violating the Student Loan Bill of Rights.
  • lecture hallSPRINGFIELD – As the White House rolls back federal protections for student loan borrowers across the nation, the Illinois State Senate sent a clear message Wednesday that it won’t succumb to pressure from loan services and their lobbyists.

    Legislation sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) that would establish a student loan bill of rights in Illinois and help to protect students from predatory college lenders passed in the Senate Wednesday.

    “The fact that the student loan industry sent high-powered lobbyists to Springfield to fight against these practical, commonsense protections for middle- and low-income families tells me that we’re on the right track with this legislation,” Biss said.

    “Students are drowning in debt the second they complete their education. It can take decades to dig out from that kind of financial burden, and quite often students quickly fall behind on their payments or end up in default. This is no way to start a life, a career or a family.”

  • biss 031517 2SPRINGFIELD – Illinois college students who borrow money to pay for their education could be better protected from predatory lenders with the help of a student loan bill of rights, a measure sponsored by Senate Daniel Biss (D-Evanston).

    The Illinois Senate reaffirmed its support for the effort Wednesday when it voted 37-19 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s August veto of Senate Bill 1351.

    “Student debt is a real problem in Illinois,” Biss said. “This legislation takes a significant step toward tackling the problem, and it will make life better for student borrowers throughout the state, especially as the federal government continues to shirk its responsibility to people who are working hard to have a better future.”

  • castro 050417SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) voted last week to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1351 and to protect college students from overwhelming amounts of debt upon graduation.

    Castro co-sponsored Senate Bill 1351, which creates the Student Loan Servicing Rights Act which would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights. The Student Loan Bill of Rights would prohibit loan servicers from taking advantage of students and parents.

    “Some companies knowingly put students in risky loans that are overly expensive,” Castro said. “As legislators we need to do everything in our power at the state level to protect our students from being taken advantage of by the student loan industry. More and more students are coming out of college with enormous amounts of debt.”

    Student loan debt has become the largest form of unsecured consumer debt in the United States with one in four borrowers being in default or behind on their payment.

    “Students and their families deserve to be informed and given resources to prevent them from making mistakes they didn’t know they were making, like falling behind on payments,” said Castro. “Governor Rauner’s veto is another example of him putting profit over people.”

    The Senate overrode the governor’s veto on Senate Bill 1351 and now heads to the House for consideration.

  • bennett 052517SPRINGFIELD -- State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted today to protect Illinois college students from crushing college debt.

    The Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1351, which creates the Student Loan Bill of Rights and prohibits predatory loan servicers from engaging in any unfair or deceptive practices towards any students and parents.

    “At a time where many young people are graduating from college with crippling debt, we need to make sure that students understand their rights and have access to proper resources,” Bennett said. “This legislation is a good first step to take in helping students and their families from falling behind on payments or defaulting on their loans.”

    Bennett sponsored the Student Loan Bill of Rights to ensure that students and their families receive clear information about the money they borrow for higher education and how their student loans are serviced.

    Over the past decade, student loan debt has doubled to become the largest form of unsecured consumer debt in the country with more than 40 million borrowers owing over $1.4 trillion. Nearly 70 percent of graduates leave college with an average debt burden of $30,000, and one-in-four borrowers are behind on their payments or in default.

    Senate Bill 1351 also aims to crack down on the student loan servicing industry that has made it more difficult and more expensive for borrowers to repay their loans.

    “Going to college should not be the financial burden that it has become,” Bennett said. “Every student in Illinois should have the opportunity to advance or complete their education without the fear of debilitating debt upon graduation.”

  • college lecture hallSPRINGFIELD – A measure that would protect college students from mounting student loan debt passed the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.

    Senate Bill 1351 establishes the Student Loan Bill of Rights in Illinois to provide as much protection as possible for student borrowers, a population that frequently is targeted by bad actors in the student loan industry.

    State Senator Cristina Castro (D- Elgin), who is a co-sponsor of the legislation, noted how important it is to make sure both transparency and fairness is brought to the student loan lending system.

    “Going to college shouldn’t be the financial burden it has become,” said Castro. “Too often, young people are graduating from universities with crippling debt and have no idea what resources are available to them, or understand their rights as a borrower. This legislation would bring clarity to the process and prevent more young people from defaulting on their loans.”

    The Student Loan Bill of Rights would help to ensure students and their families receive clear information about the money they borrow for higher education and how their student loans are serviced.

    The legislation received significant bipartisan support and now goes to the House for consideration.

  • tc 062717SPRINGFIELD- Illinois may soon have new protections in place to protect college students from crippling student loan debt, thanks to Villa Park Democrat Tom Cullerton.

    Cullerton joined the Illinois Senate in voting to override Governor Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1351, which creates the Student Loan Bill of Rights and prohibits predatory loan servicers from engaging in any unfair or deceptive practices towards students or parents.

    “College debt has become unbearable,” Cullerton said. “For many, the American dream includes obtaining a college education. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to ensure our children are given an opportunity to succeed and graduate from college without crippling amounts of student debt.”

    The Student Loan Bill of Rights would ensure students and their families receive clear information about funds they borrow for higher education and how their student loans are serviced.

    The legislation also aims to crack down on the student loan servicing industry that has made it increasingly more difficult and expensive for students and parents to repay educational loans.

    In addition, Cullerton has been fighting to lower college education costs by championing legislation to cut bloated administrative severance packages and perks.

    “Students should not be paying for hefty handouts to failed college administrators,” Cullerton said. “State funding and tuition dollars should be going toward educating our students and training them to be future leaders in Illinois and across our great nation.”

    Most recently, Cullerton worked with the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission to investigate misuse and abuse at state community colleges and universities. Next spring, he plans to introduce new legislation to increase public transparency and input on severance packages and salaries for higher education administrators.

    “Cutting administrative costs will lower tuition cost and fees,” Cullerton said. “This is a common sense approach that will give all of Illinois’ children an opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

    Senate Bill 1351 passed the Senate and moves to the House for consideration.