BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A group of Beacon Hill lawmakers say student loan borrowers need more protection—so they're calling for a student loan "bill of rights."
Gathered at the State House Wednesday, they displayed a graphic from MassPIRG showing student loan debt has increased 107 percent in five years.
Leominster Rep. Natalie Higgins, a co-sponsor of the bill, said that she and her husband graduated with about $200,000 worth of debt.
"Even as a state representative, I am not making enough payment to pay down my principal, I am only making interest payments," Higgins said. "In the last two years, I have actually managed to pay more off on my mortgage than my student loan debt, so now my student loan debt has eclipsed my mortgage."
Longmeadow State Senator Eric Lesser says he's heard too many stories of abusive lenders. He wants lenders to be licensed and watched by a state ombudsman.
"You've got nearly 900,000 people in this state with pending debt that approaches $40,000 on average," he said. "The same way we have licenses for banks, for insurance companies, for hairstylists, for car sales, we would have a license system in Massachusetts for student loan services so you can enforce good behavior, and if there's chronic abuses, you can investigate, you can take action if needed, and potentially, you can kick bad actors out of the state."
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports