Illinois Legislation Supports Interest-Free Student Loans

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Students nationwide are graduating college on average, up to $30,000 in debt and now new Illinois legislation could help offer interest-free loans.

If you're paying student loans you may be thousands of dollars in debt and paying hundreds of dollars in monthly payments. Courtney Ring has $65,000 in student loan debt after getting her undergraduate and masters degrees from Rockford University. She now pays about $600 a month.

"What's killing me is the interest rate keeps compounding every quarter," explained Ring.

To help future students, Illinois lawmakers are considering a state loan program with no interest. They're looking at Pennsylvania as an example.

"They allow those families, up to 600 percent of the poverty level, to apply for no-interest loans and they pay that back over a period of time so the fund is recouped and they can continue making more loans," explained 69th District Representative Joe Sosnowski.

Students attending community colleges or state universities would have to pay tuition after they graduate. Ring says she wishes the program would have been around for her school. Even with a teaching job, her student loan payments leave her with next to nothing.

Ring said, "If and when I have any left over, it's usually just enough in spending money, we're talking $30/month extra."

The measure has passed the Illinois House and is now in the senate. This initial bill would give a task force the go-ahead to study the program.

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