Student Loan Debt: Taking Responsibility

Student loan debts are on the rise all over the country. Some individuals are taking out outrageous loans that may take them the rest of their lives to pay off; and because many of them refuse to pay their loans, they become delinquent. In light of this, Illinois has been forced to find ways to make debtors pay back their student loans. One way the state has been able to do this is through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. They are currently able to garnish wages of employees with federal loan debt and are now seeking to implement the exact same powers and provisions for state loan acquisition.

On May 26th, 2012, legislators sent a piece of legislation off to the Governor that is going to allow Illinois to deduct wages from those who have state loan debt. Senate Bill 3800 requires that the Illinois Student Assistance commission deduct salary, wages, commissions, and bonuses of any employee in and outside of Illinois for the recovery of a student loan debt from ISAC. In collecting state-owned debts, ISAC would abide by federal regulations that limit aggregate garnished amounts to 15% of a borrower’s disposable income, which is the maximum that can be garnished. In addition, guarantee the borrower the authority to inspect and copy records of the debt, provide the borrower with an opportunity to enter into a written agreement to establish a payment schedule, and provide the borrower with the opportunity to receive a hearing concerning the debt prior to garnishment. These rules are to ensure that the borrower will not be taken advantage of.

The implementation of this legislation will enable Illinois to finally begin receiving its money from those who refuse to re-pay their student loans. I believe that this legislation is vital to Illinois because there are more than $30 million in outstanding loans owed to the state that are past due. ISAC is responsible to try and collect these outstanding debts that have gone at least 90 days without a payment. Senate Bill 3800 is forcing Illinois students to take responsibility for the educational decisions. Since the state of Illinois is already able to garnish wages from those with federal loan debt it is only reasonable to allow them the same rights with state loans. Up until today, we were not putting individuals in collections on state loans. If the governor were to sign this legislation into effect then the State would finally be able to enforce personal accountability for these delinquent loans and ensure that they will be paid.

This is a good start to decrease the number of delinquent borrowers and actually collect the funds that are owed to the State of Illinois.



  1. Joe, I agree with your blog. It is unfortunate that the loans are past due. I am sure there are some of the individuals that have valid reason for them being behind. As a mom of a college freshman, it is crazy the possibility of the interest rate for these loans. It is also a shame that college tuition, fees, and books are so expensive. I feel these kids are being taken advantage of in some way with all the increased fees. I do understand that the fees are high because the cost of running the school, and that is because their vendors, etc have high prices. It’s pretty much poop runs down hill and our students are the ones that suffer at times. The other sad news, is some of these students are getting no help from their parents to help and pay a portion of the fees. At least if there was a little help, the end result may not be such a burden to repay. It would also be nice if students who did work during their college years, that the wages could begin to be garnished at that point. This obviously wouldn’t be as punishment, but again to beat the burden of a huge bill at the end of 4 years.

  2. Ted Biondo

    Joe – how long does Governor Quinn have to sign the bill before it is passed or pocket vetoed? August 26th will be three months the governor will have had the bill. Doesn’t he have to sign it or it becomes law or does it become vetoed with a two-thirds override of the veto by the General Assembly required?

  3. Ok. Lets talk about Responsibility. Lets talk about GOVERNMENT responsibility. Lets talk about US Senate report 102-58 (1991) that showed the for profit schools CHEATED thousands of students. The findings of this report are again echoed in a recent report from Senator Tom Harkin (2012). Nothings changed in 30 years except one thing: CONGRESS took away bankruptcy protections from those students who got their loans prior to 1990.

    Talk about responsibility – the US congress had a duty to help those students, and it FAILED.

    So when folks like you start talking about taking responsibility for loans, how about the government step up to the plate and FINALLY do its responsibility and help those students that it too, cheated, after the trade schools did.

  4. Michael Williams

    Forcing students who are “unable to repay” the loans they were encouraged/coerced to apply for seems to address only half of the problem. Back when I was in undergraduate and after in graduate school, I looked upon student loans as an investment in myself, having some degree of certainty that the loans would be repaid from securing future employment in my chosen field of study. Today, students have little assurance they will find a job in their field of study. According to an April 12, 2012 article in USA Today, 50% of college grads cannot find any type of job. I work with individuals who have undergraduate and graduate degrees who cannot find work in their chosen field of study. In fact, I recently had correspondence with an individual with a Ph.D in Physics who is applying for a job as an entry-level machinist. Unfortunately, the colleges and universities, both public and private, do not provide their prospective students a realistic picture of the “value” of the degrees they are pursuing, nor with an idea of their marketability in the current economy. Currently, colleges and universities do not have to worry about government penalties for failing to do so. I hope Illinois legislators will address this growing problem with our institutions of higher learning, since there are no internal efforts or controls in place to address this problem.