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Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs provides new loan option for college students

Photo caption: Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs

A new, low-cost loan program to bridge the gap between college savings and financial aid will make it easier for thousands of Illinois residents to graduate with a university degree, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said.

The state treasurer’s office is partnering with the non-profit ISL Education Lending to offer transparent and affordable private student loans to qualifying Illinois students and families when the student will attend a nonprofit college or university in Illinois.

“We firmly believe the best way to pay for college is investing early in a college savings plan,” Frerichs said. “We also know that many families need to rely upon borrowing to pay for some costs associated with college or trade school. That is why we are pleased to partner with ISL Education Lending, a nonprofit organization that has been in this market for 40 years.”

“We appreciate the efforts of Treasurer Frerichs in enabling us to leverage their financing authority to make low-cost loans to Illinois students and families,” said Steve McCullough, president and CEO of ISL Education Lending. “We also look forward to the Treasurer’s guidance and support as we develop this product to help students and families throughout Illinois.”

The Illinois Partnership Loan Program is designed to supplement, not replace, other sources to pay for college. ISL Education Lending encourages students to work with financial aid professionals at their respective colleges and universities to explore and exhaust all sources of student financial aid before seeking a private student loan.

During the past 40 years, ISL Education Lending has helped nearly 400,000 students and families pay for college. It entered the private student-loan space in 1992.

ISL Education Lending provides details and rate information before the student or family begins the application. The loan applicant can choose an immediate repayment plan, interest-only payments, or deferred payment while the student is in school. Details, including eligibility criteria and credit score requirements for different rates, are at, and loan applications are being accepted for fall 2023 enrollment.

The need for affordable higher education financing options is on the rise. With limited federal loan limits and increasing reliance on private student loans, students often face the difficult decision of taking on substantial debt or abandoning their education. To help fill the funding gap, The Student Investment Account Act (110 ILCS 991) was enacted. This act permits the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer (“Treasurer”) to establish an investment vehicle, which will invest up to five percent (5%) of the State Investment portfolio on a continuing and recurring basis in opportunities to provide affordable and responsible education loan products to Illinois residents. To prepare for the launch of the Student Investment Account, the Treasurer engaged stakeholders, hosted virtual panels, issued requests for information, and formed partnerships with the Milken Institute, the Student Borrower Protection Center, SL Capital Strategies, and Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP; Chapman and Cutler, LLP.

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