Student Debt Resources

Student loan debt is a national problem. Outstanding debt keeps borrowers from saving for retirement, buying property, and building wealth. Nationally, women carry two-thirds of our nation’s $1.7 trillion in student debt. Black women hold more student debt than any other group—with an average of $38,800 in federal undergraduate loans one year after completing a bachelor’s degree, 22 percent more than white women.

With student loan and debt policies and programs shifting often, it can be challenging to know where to find what you need. Below you’ll find resources with up-to-date information for student borrowers—nationally and in Illinois.

Women hold 2/3 of all student loan debt

For Federal Student Loan Borrowers

The official Federal Student Aid website run by the U.S. Department of Education is a great starting point for borrowers. The website allows you to manage your loans, learn more about repayment and forgiveness programs, apply for financial aid, and even chat with a virtual assistant to direct you to resources for your particular needs.

You can find additional help from the Student Loan Borrower Resource Center, managed by the Student Debt Crisis, including a help clinic and summaries of specific loan topics.

For Illinois Student Loan Borrowers

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has a wealth of resources for borrowers, including information about specific requirements for Illinois grant and loan programs, for different forms of federal loans, and for forgiveness programs. You can also find information about Illinois financial aid programs—including the Monetary Award Program (MAP) and Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) scholarship.

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office has information about managing debt and handling complaints against student loan servicers. It also provides information about the Illinois Student Loan Bill of Rights, which protects student borrowers. In addition to the website, you can contact the Attorney General’s Student Loan Helpline at (800) 455-2456.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on Federal Direct Loans after borrowers have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer, like a nonprofit, educational institution, or government agency. Through October 2022, the U.S. Department of Education is providing a limited waiver for borrowers, allowing them to claim credit for payments that may not have previously qualified.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has materials—including a flowchart and webinar—to help borrowers understand PSLF.

Taking Action on Student Debt

Student debt is a national crisis which especially affects women and borrowers of color. Take action to urge decisionmakers to address our crisis and protect borrowers.