ISS to create Student Debt Awareness committee

The Illinois Student Senate passed a resolution Wednesday night to create a Student Debt Awareness committee.

The senate already has standing committees that are dedicated to academic, campus and financial matters as well as an internal affairs committee, but there has yet been one designated to strictly handle student debt. According to finaid.org, student debt now exceeds 1.3 trillion dollars and one in five student debtors now default on their student loans, which led Tony Fiorentino, student senator and graduate student, to enlist the help of the senate to create a ballot referendum that would urge Illinois members of Congress to push for student lending policy reform.

Fiorentino said he’d like to see this become a campus-wide effort. He said a Student Debt Awareness committee would allow senators from different colleges in to meet regularly to discuss this issue, rather than discussing it on the floor without pre-planning.

The committee would hold hearings that would allow students to come to the committee to share their own experiences with student debt.

“(Students can) testify to how they have been trying to repay their student loans,” Fiorentino said. “I think it would be very helpful if young people who are actually students now can hear from student debtors, and this is something the committee can do efficiently on its own.”

Senator Dominique Johnson supports Fiorentino in his commitment to providing students with a platform to discuss student debt.

“I want to thank Tony for all his hard work,” Johnson said. “This is a particularly good issue that the University of Illinois and the senate probably wants to get behind and for that reason I am going to urge everyone to vote yes.”

Liz can be reached at [email protected]