Education is the key to future individual success and a strong economy. We must work to expand educational opportunities for all students in Illinois and throughout the nation. The future of our country depends on the education we provide to our children today.
Access to a quality education—from pre-Kindergarten through higher education—should not be a luxury only for the wealthy. The cost of higher education has increased dramatically in recent decades, and student debt has tripled over the last decade. This debt often destroys personal financial security and threatens national economic growth as young people put off buying cars and homes, starting families and businesses, and saving for retirement.
I am working to ensure that all students, regardless of their economic status, receive a quality college education that will help them get ahead without saddling them with a mountain of debt. I have fought for legislation to maintain affordable federal student loan rates; increase access to free and open textbooks; investigate the deceptive practices of many for-profit colleges; and encourage our best and brightest students to choose a profession in public service. I will continue to focus on making a quality education accessible and affordable to all.
Once a clear path to the American Dream, college is now out of reach for many families. And those who do attend often leave with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. Today, Americans cumulatively owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debt. Senator Durbin supports increased investments in traditional federal financial aid programs like Pell Grants while encouraging colleges to keep costs down, including through improved accountability and investing in new technologies like open textbooks. Senator Durbin has worked to provide relief to the millions of Americans struggling to repay their student loan debt, which prevents them from starting families, buying houses and cars, or even retiring.
For-profit colleges enroll just nine percent of all post-secondary students, but account for 34 percent of all federal student loan defaults. These companies charge too much and often lure students into enrolling with false or misleading promises. Students are left buried in debt with a degree that employers don’t recognize. Recently, many for-profit colleges have collapsed under the weight of years of fraud—leaving students stranded and taxpayers holding the bag. Senator Durbin has worked to hold these companies and their executives accountable for exploiting students and fleecing taxpayers while fighting for debt relief for the students they’ve harmed.
All children deserve affordable, high-quality early learning and care regardless of the income bracket of their parents. Children’s brains grow at a rapid pace in the earliest years—making these years critical for healthy development. As a nation, we can’t afford to turn our backs on the development of any child, which is why Senator Durbin has fought for increased access to early learning and care for all children.