HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut has become the first state to create a Student Loan Bill of Rights in an effort to help reduce the burden of debt most students acquire once they graduate.
Governor Malloy signed the bill into law on July 2nd, establishing an Office of Student Loan Ombudsmand, which will regulate student loan servicers, and educate students and their parents through the loan process.
According to a 2013 study by the Project on Student Debt, Connecticut was recorded to have graduates with the sixth highest debt-load in the nation. Students were graduating with a debt average of about $30,191.
State Representative Matthew Lesser expressed the urgency of this bill for Connecticut’s students.
President Obama and Connecticut’s congressional delegation have called for strong action at the federal level to make student loans more affordable. Unfortunately, Congress has done nothing. With 64 percent of our state’s college students graduating with debt, Connecticut cannot afford to wait.”
The legislation will require student loan servicers to register with the Department of Banking and the Office of Student Loan Ombudsman. This way, any complaints filed by students against the loan servicers and their universities can be resolved more easily.
The program will also compile data in order to develop a student borrower education course. This aspect of the law will allow students to improve their financial literacy, making the loan process more understandable and manageable.
Representative Roberta Willis describes his confidence in the new law:
“I am very pleased the Governor has signed our landmark student loan bill into law. As House Chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, I am confident that this now new law will help students and their parents refinance their loans at public or private colleges and universities, but equally important, it will make a college education easier to achieve for students.”
According to Senator Gary Winfield, students loans have grown to be the largest portion of household debt, second to mortgages. This legislation will help families manage debt, while allowing higher education to be more affordable and more accessible for Connecticut families.