- Published: Monday, January 30, 2017 09:00 AM
VILLA PARK- The number of seniors, generally age 60 and older, with student loan debt has quadrupled over the last decade to 6.4 percent, and the average amount they owed has also increased to $23,500 from $12,100 a decade ago, according to a new report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), a new member of the Senate’s Committee on Higher Education, is disgusted with the risky and deceptive lending practices by the nation’s student loan providers and money lending companies.
“It’s important we hold these lending companies accountable for loading Illinois residents with mountains of debt,” Cullerton said. “As a father of three sons, I know what parents are going through. Like any other parent, I want my children to graduate college full of opportunities, not burdened with unmanageable amounts of debt.”
Recently, the Illinois Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against Navient Solutions, Inc. and Sallie Mae. Navient, was part of Sallie Mae before the company was divided into two separate entities.
The lawsuit alleges the two entities offered “designed to fail” subprime loans over several decades to students across the nation, according to a statement from the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The loans allegedly carried high interest rates and fees and were mostly given to students at “poorly accredited” for-profit schools.
“No student should be discouraged from attending college due to financial need,” Cullerton said. “I look forward to finding ways to make college more affordable by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse at our state and community colleges and protecting Illinois families from outrageous lending schemes.”
Cullerton looks forward to the committee’s first meeting of the 100th General Assembly.