SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois students and graduates would be able to refinance their student loans at low interest rates through a system run by the state treasurer’s office under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, which recently passed the Illinois House.
“Many student loan borrowers are struggling to make payments that are at an unmanageable level, and not receiving the assistance they need when they turn to private companies for help,” said Mah. “By expanding the lending authority of the state treasurer’s office, we’re able to offer students an alternative to big banks and huge for-profit lenders so they can reduce interest and reduce their monthly payments.”
Mah’s House Bill 2685 would allow the Illinois treasurer to lend up to $600 million to provide low-interest loans to students attending institutions of higher education. By offering a lower interest rate than private companies, the state-run refinancing authority aims to make student loan payments more affordable, helping borrowers who are on their way to defaulting on their student loans, and freeing up more of their hard-earned money to fuel the state’s economy.
According to data from the Institute for College Access and Success, 61 percent of Illinois graduates have student loan debt, with the average amount of debt being around $29,000.
“Crushing student loan debt is preventing recent graduates from investing in our local economy, buying a home, saving money for a medical emergency and ultimately planning for their future,” said Mah. “We need to be looking at sustainable ways to address the student loan crisis, including helping borrowers get out of debt quicker, so that they can use their education to benefit our community and economy.”
Mah is serving her second term representing the 2nd District, which includes the Chicago neighborhoods of McKinley Park, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bridgeport, Brighton Park and Back of the Yards. For more information, please contact Mah’s district office at 872-281-5775.