[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) met today with Barbara Farley, President of Illinois College to discuss higher education issues including reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, making college textbooks more affordable, and student loan reform measures. A photo of today’s meeting with President Farley is available here.  Durbin also met, today, with representatives from the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities.  A photo of that meeting is available here.

“Illinois is home to some of the finest colleges and universities in the country,” Durbin said. “I was pleased to meet with both President Farley and the leaders from the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. We agree that reforms in higher education and investing in our students must continue to be one of our country’s highest priorities.”

Students spend an estimated $1,200 a year on textbooks.  A new survey from PIRG now shows that a majority of students have foregone buying a required text because of the cost and around 90% of them are worried it will negatively affect their grade. That study can be found here.

In order to address this problem and manage textbook costs, Senator Durbin and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) have introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act. This bill would create a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education, working with professors and other organizations, to create and expand the use of textbooks that can be made available online and licensed under terms that grant the public the right to freely access, customize and distribute the material, also known as “open textbooks”.

In order to help students with loan repayments, Senator Durbin is sponsoring the Student Loan Borrower’s Bill of Rights. This bill aims to tackle the problem of skyrocketing student loan debt by ensuring struggling student loan borrowers are treated fairly and understand the full range of repayment options and resources available to them. The bill places a special focus on servicemember and veteran borrowers by requiring loan servicers to provide borrowers with a liaison specifically trained in the benefits available to military borrowers.
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