Madigan took part in a hearing organized by Senator Dick Durbin. According to the attorney general, students leave school with an average of $23,000 in debt.
"Oftentimes, they don't have an ability to repay so there are other things they can't do in terms of participation in our economy -- that keeps our economy going -- and there are people who are going to live with this debt through their retirement and end up really being poverty stricken," Madigan said.
Durbin is urging congress to take steps to help students struggling with debt.
Madigan also spoke about her lawsuit against the for-profit Westwood College, alleging deceptive marketing practices.