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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois state lawmaker says he's sponsoring legislation that would give what could amount to interest-free loans to college students.

Democratic state Rep. Jay Hoffman of Swansea tells the Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/1cxJmMk ) that House Bill 5323 would direct the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to study a pay-it-forward type of loan program.

Under it, students attending community colleges or state universities would have to sign a contract to repay the costs of their education to the state from a portion of their adjusted gross income following graduation.

Hoffman says that the recent explosion of student debt requires a new approach.

The measure last week unanimously passed the House Higher Education Committee and goes to the House floor.

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Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com

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