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Lawmakers consider plan to bring college costs under control

ILLINOIS -- Getting a college degree could become more affordable as well as accessible.
ILLINOIS -- Getting a college degree could become more affordable as well as accessible. State lawmakers are looking to make it easier on students. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

Pay it Forward -- Pay it Back. That's the college loan proposal progressing in the Statehouse. It calls for student loans to be repaid according to the income of the borrower.

Ask your average college student about how they chose their school and, odds are, cost comes up.

"Cost was a very large factor, because money is kind of tight and I didn't come from a very wealthy family, so I definitely wanted to choose a school that was affordable and in-state and not a private school which would be almost twice as expensive."

Whether their schooling was funded by family or they took out loans, someone is footing a hefty bill.

"I know a lot of my friends are coming out of school and they have $20,000 to $30,000 in debt."

The Project on Student Debt says the average student in Illinois will owe over $28,000.

"The students are coming out with too much debt and it's hurting their options out there."

That's part of the reason why Senator Mike Frerichs (D) is pushing for a bill to let students borrow money at low interest rates, then pay it back, based on income and the ability to pay.

"There is an understanding out there that we need to do something about the cost of a college education."

The bill has already passed the House. Tuesday, a Senate committee agreed to look into the plan.

"Our hope is the task force will come up with some ideas that can make this affordable and implement this next year."

It's something students say could be a step toward lightening their load.

"It's a good idea to base it on the income."

Especially at a time when employment after graduation seems bleak.

"I think that's a great idea, especially with the lack of jobs for graduating students."

This bill is getting support from both sides of the aisle. If it moves forward, the Department of Revenue would be the agency in charge.
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