Counseling for student loan debt

Student loan debt continues to be an issue for many Minnesotans. To help prevent students from falling behind on their student loan payments, legislation was heard this week to establish a grant program to pay for student loan debt repayment counseling. The counseling would be available to all state residents who attended a Minnesota post secondary institution.

The funds would be granted to a Minnesota-based non-profit with expertise in debt counseling. They would help borrowers better understand their loan and repayment options, manage loan repayments, and develop a workable budget based on the borrower’s full financial situation regarding income, expenses, and other debt.

The Legislature in 2015 appropriated $150,000 to the Office of Higher Education for a temporary student loan debt counseling pilot program. The pilot program grant was awarded to Lutheran Social Services (LSS). The program is similar to the pilot program established in 2015.

Senate DFLers offered the bill in 2017 and it was heard in committee, but the funding was stripped from the bill in conference committee. (SF 3058)