Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sat down with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe and other members of the SIUE staff on Monday, Aug. 18, to discuss the increase in financial abuses and loan servicing scams targeting current and former students.
The discussion at SIUE’s Morris University Center was prompted by Madigan as part of a series of meetings she plans to initiate with higher education institutions to bring awareness to the issue.
After seeing a significant rise in complaints regarding loan repayment services, the attorney general felt it was important to investigate the companies accused of financial abuses and enforce consumer protection rights surrounding student loans. Involving higher education leaders was the next step to protecting citizens from illegal practices.
“We want to ensure that all universities are aware of this issue,” said Madigan.
Scam artists target individuals struggling to pay off large amounts of student loan debt. Meanwhile, they promise to lower the principal amount owed or other services for an upfront fee, some as high as $1,200.
“Our goal is to educate current and former students on ways to contend with student loan debt, and lessen the chance of honest people giving their money to criminals,” Madigan added.
Attendees conferred with Madigan and her staff about her work and ways SIUE can help to inform students leaving the university about safe and reliable options for managing student loan debt.
SIUE sends an informational brochure regarding financial management, repayment options and helpful resources to every student who exits the university. Fifty-three percent of students incur no student debt during their time at SIUE.