Everyone knows that pursuing a higher education is expensive. Many families, including my own, have had to discuss the implications of such a costly investment. I remember overhearing tough conversations between my parents and my sister when I was in eighth grade and she was a high school senior. There was so much uncertainty about her academic future that I began to reflect on my own.
I never truly comprehended the economic strain that it would have on my family. In addition to student financial aid, my sister and I both have relied on student loans. Even with financial aid, student loans and the 40- to 60-hour work weeks during our summers, the fatigue of student loan debt continues to be a massive burden.
I would love more than anything to be able to afford a new car or even something as simple as new clothing when the seasons change. Unfortunately, as with thousands of other students like me, student loan debt continues to be a bleak reminder of my financial freedom. Very often, it feels as though I'm alone in my fight to fund my education.
Hearing that the U.S. Department of Education would retract protections for students like me feels like betrayal. I am grateful Attorney General Lisa Madigan is leading the way where the federal government is failing. I applaud her efforts to pass a common-sense Student Loan Bill of Rights, and I urge the Illinois General Assembly to override the governor's veto of this important legislation.