Willis Backs Bill to Crack Down on Predatory Student Loans

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Student loan providers would face tougher penalties under a new law backed by state Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

“Students today are graduating with record levels of debt due to the loans they have to take to pay for their education,” said Willis. “Some loan providers have taken advantage of students not knowing the right procedure and seek to skirt the law in the name of making money.”

Senate Bill 1351 would revamp the laws regarding student loans in Illinois. The measure would establish a “Student Loan Bill of Rights” and create a position of an ombudsman within the office of the Attorney General to provide more oversight to loan providers. Further, the bill would create licensing requirements for student loan providers that would be administered by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Finally, the bill would also allow the Attorney General’s office to enforce violations under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Advocates for the legislation argue that thousands of borrowers have registered complains about unfair practices by loan services with the Attorney General’s office, including allegations that struggling students are not adequately notified of repayment options that would help them make their payments and protect their credit.

“This piece of legislation is a solid effort to provide greater consumer protections for our young people who are trying to better themselves by attending college,” said Willis. “Our young people should be graduating with the readiness to begin their careers, not racked with debt due to unfair practices of loan providers.”

Willis is serving her third term in the Illinois General Assembly as State Representative of the 77th District, which includes O’Hare Airport and portions of Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, Stone Park, and Wood Dale.