Illinois bill could cut college students’ debt

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The average Illinois college graduate walks away $27,000 in debt, but paying those bills could be easier with an idea up for debate.

Western Illinois Sophomore, Desiree Sandling is spending her spring break working as a lab assistant on campus. Every cent is worth it, because students like Desiree will have a pretty big bill after she graduates.

"Student debt is an ongoing crisis for Illinois residents as well as everyone in the other states," said Alex Hall, financial adviser for WIU Quad City campus.

Which is why a proposed bill in the Illinois Senate could change student loans. Under the program students in community colleges or state universities would be able to attend school without paying for tuition until after they graduate. The loan would be interest free.

"Finding ways to help pay for college without interest can significantly impact students in the future when they graduate and they're looking for jobs," said Hall.

Even though the idea looks good on paper, Hall is skeptical if the program would work, as Illinois already has issues paying for programs already in place.

"The state of Illinois has problems already funding their current financial aid program, the MAP grant. I don't know how this program would be funded," said Hall.

However, students like Desiree say all they can do is hope for the best and a break for her future bills.

"That would be awesome. It would cut down a significant amount of money you would have to pay back," said Sandling.

The plan is modeled after one already in place in the state of Pennsylvania.