PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Attorneys General from five states, along with Assistant Attorneys General from 13 states, are gathering Tuesday in downtown Portland to address the growth of America’s student loan debt.
The Conference of Western Attorneys General Symposium is looking to find solutions to prevent Americans who seek higher education from being in debt for life.
“The fact of the matter is it’s going up, and we’ve got to do something about it,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
America’s student loan debt has climbed above $1.3 trillion, more than a 30 percent growth since 2012.
Your student loans could follow you forever: school debt can’t be discharged when you file for bankruptcy, so if you fall behind, it can be nearly impossible to get a fresh start.
Attorney General Rosenblum says her job is focused on consumer protection, and that includes students taking on debt.
“We have to figure out how to make it so that our young people can go to school and get educated so that they can advance in life, not so that they can be pulled back because of debt,” she said.
Attorney General Rosenblum says a start is to make sure universities are spending tuition on education and professors instead of recruiting students and advertising.
The goal of Tuesday’s symposium is to find concrete solutions and to act on them quickly.
Rosenblum says a possible solution would be to create a borrower’s bill of rights designed to make sure students knew exactly the rates and loans they were taking on.
Until those ideas are enacted, the numbers are expected to keep climbing. Experts say America’s national student debt is growing almost $3,000 every second.