States across America are taking up arms against student loans, filling in the gaps when the federal government doesn’t make moves toward student loan regulation reform. Washington state lawmakers are attempting to pass a Student Loan Bill of Rights that will improve accountability for student loan providers and their services. The bill passed in the House in early March and is currently in the Senate.
The House Bill 1440 would protect students as consumers of loan services. It would also establish student loan ombudsmen to advocate for those students and resolve issues on their behalf. “The ombud can provide that kind of information about what still needs to be fixed in the law in order to ensure that loan servicers are compliant, and providing an acceptable level of customer service and transparency to loan borrowers,” explained Rep. Monica Stonier, who sponsored the bill in the House.
Several other states, including California and Washington D.C., have passed similar Student Loan Bill of Rights legislation. It is widely known that failure to effectively deal with your student loans can negatively impact your credit. States are trying to alleviate the student loan debt burden on borrowers by passing legislation that requires more transparency about the loans they are taking out to pay for college.
“They’re nervous about the level of debt that they’re going to have when they graduate,” Stonier said. “And to be able to pay it with a basic level of service and acceptable best practice from their loan servicers is something that they recognize could have a continuing negative impact on their credit if that isn’t resolved.”
Recently the Washington State Senate passed another bill that aids in transparency. Senate Bill 5022 requires colleges to provide student borrowers information on loan balances and estimated monthly payments within 30 days of receiving each loan installment. It will also inform the borrower about repayment options. This should help prepare students for entering repayment after they complete college. Senate Bill 5022 was officially passed into law at the end of April and will go into effect July 23, 2017.
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