Community Investment Awards Highlight Secure Choice & Student Loans Report

This month, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights was honored for their work passing the Secure Choice Savings Program. With the passage of Secure Choice, Illinois became the first state in the country to address the issue of retirement insecurity in this way. The program will expand access to retirement savings accounts for millions of Illinois workers.

Amy Rynell, Senior Director of Research & Policy at Heartland Alliance, accepted Woodstock Institute’s Community Investment Award, stating:

“Without access to easy, convenient tools to build retirement savings more people will experience a reduced quality of life in retirement, putting many at risk of poverty – straining families, communities and the state. Secure Choice will provide many of these workers with the opportunity to save and have a more stable future.”

Heartland Alliance, along with other IABG partners, are now focused on working with Illinois State Treasurer Frerichs to ensure that the Secure Choice Program is successfully implemented, with a smooth transition for employers and easy access to the program for workers.


A Spotlight on Student Loans

The reception also included a panel discussion about student loans, particularly at for-profit colleges. The discussion highlighted a report recently published by the Woodstock Institute, “Starting out Behind: Trends in Student Loan Burdens at For-Profit Colleges,” which found that students at for-profit colleges were much more likely to take out loans than students at public colleges. For-profit colleges often leave students with a mountain of debt and poor educational outcomes. The panel brought to light many of the problems such abusive practices can cause for students.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been investigating for-profit colleges as well as broader student debt issues. They recently launched an inquiry into student loan servicing issues, and they are looking for borrowers to share their experiences of student loans. To find out more about the CFPB’s work on student loans or to share your story, visit

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