Washington state bipartisan student borrowing bill advances through legislature

By Mark Iandolo | Apr 20, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced April 13 that his bipartisan legislation to provide more transparency to students regarding their borrowing has been advanced by the state’s legislature via a unanimous vote in the Senate.

Ferguson’s Student Loan Transparency Act, Senate bill 5022, is sponsored by state Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor. The companion bill, House bill 1057, is sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines.

“Student borrowers deserve clear and accurate information to navigate an often confusing process that often leaves them indebted for decades. This legislation helps address these challenges,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson’s bill was modeled after legislation in Indiana, Wisconsin and Nebraska, and would require colleges and other institutions of higher education to send updated information to students any time a financial aid package includes new or revised student loans.

“There are serious long-term effects of student debt,” Bailey said. “The more information that our college students have about their financing options the better. The Student Loan Transparency Act will help students make better decisions about their educational-financing needs.”

Orwall agreed.

“Having spoken to many students struggling with student loan debt, it became clear that many had not understood the extent of their loans until it was time to start paying them back,” she said. “This legislation will give students the basic information and tools necessary to make informed choices to better plan for their future.

"This could mark the difference between graduates with manageable debt and those who are buried by their loans.”

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