FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – For many Americans, student loans are their introduction to debt.
Looking at the numbers nationwide, the United States reached as much as $1.7 trillion in student loan debt at the end of 2020. Student debt is now the second-largest category of consumer debt. highest in the country.
For Hoosier State, the average borrower debt is $32,000 and the state’s total debt is $28.7 billion. To combat this, Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03) has teamed up with congressional leaders Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sen. Joe Manchin ( D-WV) to reintroduce a bipartisan bill that will require the Department of Education to be more transparent about federal student loan terms, such as interest rates.
“Being the first in my family to go to college, I had no idea what these forums I was signing up were, they were complicated, they were decisions I made when I was 17 or 18 and I had a debt that I paid off for several years when I got out of college,” Rep. Banks said. “I went to Indiana University and came out of college in debt. , but the debt back then is a drop in the bucket compared to college debt today due to the rising cost of colleges. There is no greater inflation in America than the cost of a college degree.
The goal of the bipartisan bill is to simplify and clarify the terms of federal student loans, such as interest rates and average monthly payments before a student accepts the loan. Banks stressed that as a member of Congress, it is his job to oversee the Department of Education.
“We already have terms of service on student loans that the Department of Education makes you look at, but it’s like anything else, you’re talking about many pages, thousands of words that people don’t don’t read, just like they do ‘Don’t read the Terms of Service when you turn on your iPhone,’ Rep. Banks said. is not a priority for officials.”
Representative Banks said WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that student debt is a common problem he hears about from his constituents. He stressed that this is a hard-hitting problem with a simple solution and that higher education is meant to help people get started in life, not set them back.
WANE 15 went downtown to ask the community what they thought of their student loan process.
Jackie Skevington was a botany student and said her student loan application process was stressful with so much paperwork. She believed the terms of her student loan agreement had been ‘shoved under the rug’. Her biggest dilemma was not knowing how to pay, but knowing that she needed a college education.
“You have this debt for the rest of your life,” Skevington said. “Not having the big picture is quite stressful because I don’t get paid a lot of money and I want to improve for my future and my financial situation. It’s worrying because it’s debt and no one wants debt.
When asked if the Ministry of Education should be more transparent about interest rates on loans, she replied that there should be no interest rates or student loans and that the higher education should be free.
Myron Yoder said he knew his interest rate before signing because he had read all his paperwork and “be careful”. However, he added that student loans are “terrible” and 10 years later he still has them and wishes he didn’t.
“If we could do college online and get rid of tuition and forget about the whole structure of education and do everything online, I’m a big fan of non-traditional education,” Yoder said. “I know a lot of people in these situations who have invested over a hundred thousand dollars in their education and haven’t seen a hundred thousand dollars of success.”
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