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💰 Are you eligible for IL student loan forgiveness?

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


While President Joe Biden considers canceling some student loan debt, we’re looking at the state of student debt for borrowers across Chicagoland. 

Illinois has almost 1.7 million borrowers who average $37,757 in federal student loans, the seventh-highest nationwide, according to the Education Data Initiative.

Chicagoans average nearly $40,000 in federal and private loans. But it’s higher in some zip codes than others, according to lending site Student Loan Hero.

60611 (Streeterville) — $83,593
60605 (Loop) — $77,098
60661 (West Loop) — $76,607
60654 (River North) — $71,450
60615 (Kenwood) — $63,903
60616 (Douglas) — $61,669

Federal loan payments are scheduled to resume in September after more than two years of freezes. But will Biden forgive debt before then? 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul hopes so: He joined other state attorneys general last week in asking Biden to forgive federal student loans. 

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and other Democrats wrote to the Department of Education in April asking for an income-driven repayment plan for people who can’t pay, which disproportionately affects communities of color, especially in Cook County, according to the Urban Institute. 

Illinois does have some student loan forgiveness programs for eligible teachers, nurse educators, veteran home medical providers, and public defenders or state prosecutors. 

But the root of the problem remains: exorbitant tuition costs. But we’ll explore that later this week 👀

👉 Have student debt? How much? Ready to pay again in September? Fill out this poll, and let us know.


The Sky lost 98-91 to the LA Sparks Friday at the reigning WNBA champs’ home opener. The Chicago team was in a position to win, but some fatigued legs, sloppy turnovers, and a BAD late foul call cost them the game. 

Don’t worry though — it’s just one game with a long road ahead.

🎧 Janice Scurio of the new CHGO Sky podcast tells us about the team’s offseason, previews what’s to come, and weighs in on whether the Sky become the first back-to-back WNBA champs in 20 years.


▪️ Voters will not get to decide the city’s new ward map after alders reached a tentative agreement Monday. The map includes 16 majority-Black and “Black influence” wards, 14 majority-Latino wards and one majority-Asian American ward. Alders needed to secure at least 41 votes to avoid a referendum vote in the June primary. [The Daily Line; City Cast Chicago]

▪️ In a rare press conference, GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Richard Irvin didn’t answer hot-button questions about former President Donald Trump or abortion. The Aurora mayor, a moderate backed by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, is trying to appeal to more conservative voters. [Chicago Sun-Times; City Cast]

▪️ People who aren’t citizens can now be represented in immigration court by Cook County public defenders. [Block Club Chicago]

▪️ The city is pledging $500,000 to safe abortion access for residents and non-residents in the wake of the leaked Roe v. Wade opinion draft. [Chicago Tribune; City Cast]

▪️ Scooter gang assemble! Electric scooters are back mostly downtown, but not as many as were promised. Two companies were denied licenses and filed an appeal. [WBEZ]

▪️ We could break records with this almost 90-degree weather 🥵 [National Weather Service]

▪️ Hopefully seeing all the Chicago mascots at the Special Olympics this weekend was heartwarming for you. (Me? I’m scared of mascots.)

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We asked how you’d improve the CTA in light of reports of more crime, unsanitary conditions, and long wait times. Here’s what City Casters said: 

🚉 Daniel M. would “happily pay twice” for “premium” cars with an officer or private security onboard, and suggested adding security on all trains early in the morning and late at night.

🚍 Lucas B. is in favor of bus rapid transit, or BRT, and bus-only lanes. He also said, “Fix the damn tracks on the West Side Blue Line! The city shows a callous disregard to everyone who isn’t able to or chooses not to travel by car, when the train crawls down the middle of the highway for miles as drivers fly past.”

🚏 Allie is not for the bus lanes because “we have those downtown today and it’s always blocked by delivery trucks/Uber/Lyft/etc.”

🗓️ Leah said, “The city needs to admit to the need for schedule changes due to the pandemic and staffing issues.”


When we talked to Naperville teen Lucy Westlake last week, she was at a Mount Everest base camp. 

Lucy’s mom told City Cast that high winds have altered the climber’s schedule a bit, but the goal is for Lucy to attempt the summit Thursday, meaning the 18-year-old will set out to climb to the highest point and back. 

If successful, Westlake will be the youngest American woman to embark on the journey. Go Lucy!

👉 See what the young climber is up to on Instagram!

Correction: Illinois has almost 1.7 million federal student loan borrowers. An earlier version of this post misstated the number.