Quigley Introduces Bill to Address Burden of Student Debt
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), along with his Democratic colleagues in the House, introduced the Student Loan Interest Deduction (SLID) Act. The SLID Act would increase tax deductions for interest paid on student loan debt and help ease the burden of repaying loans for education.
“In today’s 21st century economy, education opens the door to higher paying jobs, but the growing cost of higher education is forcing too many students to take on the financial burden of student loans,” said Rep. Quigley. “In Illinois, the average amount of student loan debt is more than $25,000 per borrower. With the Student Loan Interest Deduction Act, borrowers will be able to deduct double what they currently can from their taxes. This tax deduction will help alleviate the burden on borrowers and better position middle class families who have taken on loans and made responsible on-time payments to fund their higher education.”
The SLID Act would help individuals pay back their loans by doubling the tax deduction for interest paid on student loan debt from $2,500 to $5,000 for singles and from $5,000 to $10,000 for married couples. It would also eliminate upper income limits on deductions, meaning that people with student loan debt would no longer be penalized for earning a higher salary as they advance in their careers. Under the SLID Act, regardless of how much a taxpayer makes, they would receive the same deduction until all their student loans were paid off.
As of 2013, the total of student loan balances in the United States exceeded $1.2 trillion, quadruple what it was in 2003. This is more than Americans owe in both credit card debt ($882.6 billion) and auto loan debt ($15.1 billion).
"The Great Recession and its aftermath has made it more and more challenging for college graduates to get started on their careers,” said Terry W. Hartle, Senior Vice President of the American Council on Education. “Many borrowers recently lost important student loan benefits and those changes have increased the amount they owe. As a result, it is critical that federal policy makers look for ways to help college graduates manage the burden of their student loan debt. This legislation represents a very helpful step in that effort."
The SLID Act has been endorsed by: the American Council on Education, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the Consortium for Government Relations on Student Affairs (CGRSA), the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) and the Association of American Universities (AAU).
Since his election to Congress in 2009, Rep. Quigley has made affordable education one of his top issues. Rep. Quigley invited a public school teacher to the State of the Union address this year, highlighting the importance of education in the state of our nation and the economic opportunities access to quality education creates. As the only Illinois member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Quigley successfully advocated to increase the maximum award available for Pell Grants recipients to $5,830 in this year’s omnibus appropriations bill. In 2012, Rep. Quigley held a congressional field forum with Senator Dick Durbin and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to explore the impact of the growing student loan debt on families and the economy. Rep. Quigley has also been actively working to protect the education benefits of service members and veterans, introducing the Military and Veterans Education Protection Act in 2012. This legislation aims to close a loophole that encourages for-profit colleges to target active duty military and veterans using military education assistance programs.