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Durbin Puts Spotlight On Ballooning Student Loan Debt

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and two congressional colleagues held a hearing at Chicago’s City Hall Monday on the growing burden of student debt.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, Durbin and Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky heard from Alex Brooks.

He took out $40,000 in loans to get a two-year computer degree from a for-profit technical school.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports

He says he since has discovered the degree is worthless, and he’s left with debt that he says will take a lifetime to pay off.

Quigley says it’s a common problem.

“The amount that a student [owes], leaving college, is crippling that student’s ability to succeed in the workplace,” he said. “In addition, student loan debt is now greater than credit card debt or debt we owe on cars.”

Durbin has introduced the Know Before You Owe Act, which would require colleges and universities to inform students about federal aid options–and the differences between government and private student loans. It also would require private lenders to get a certification from a school before issuing a loan.

Brooks says he hoped his two-year degree would change his life. He says it has: It’s ruined it.