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'$4 Billion Worth Of Extra Costs On The Backs Of Students': AG Shapiro Talks Student Debt Crisis

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Student debt is a national concern. According to Forbes magazine, there are 44-million borrowers with $1.5 trillion of student loan debt in the United States. Pennsylvania ranks second in the nation, with nearly two million borrowers and an average student loan debt of $36,000.

So Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro met with students on the University of Pittsburgh's campus Friday to discuss the struggles they're facing when it comes to student debt -- and hear their concerns about the future.

Pitt senior Maggie Kennedy was among the students in attendance. "I'll be graduating ... with about $15,000 in debt, which really isn't that bad comparatively to a lot of students," Kennedy told KDKA's Paul Martino. But with no job prospects, Kennedy says she's not sure how she'll be able to pay that off.

"We know how big of an issue it is to carry debt," Shapiro told students Friday. He's going after unscrupulous lenders, and suing one of the largest student loan lenders: Navient.

"We allege in our lawsuit against Navient that they added 4 billion -- like with a b, billion -- $4-billion worth of extra costs on the backs of students and their families," Shapiro said.

He hopes to help students like Melissa Rosenwald, who says the now-defunct Art Institute ripped her off for $88,000 -- they promised her a job she never got.

"What they did was criminal and it sucked, and they should not be allowed to get away with it," Rosenwald, a former student at the Art Institute, told the audience. "But the fact that we have no recourse -- there is nothing we can do," she said.

Students also said they would like to see the rising cost of tuition addressed, a cost currently rising at double the rate of inflation.

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