• Bills could help ease confusion of student loans


    SEATTLE - State lawmakers in Olympia will be debating several bills that add more transparency to the student loan process.

    The State Attorney General's Office says there are 800,000 people in the state who carry an average of $24,000 in student loan debt.

    These bills could help keep people informed about their loans.

    The bills are being discussed in the House Higher Education Committee at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

    Senate Bill 5022, the Washington Student Loan Transparency Act, requires lenders to inform students about the status of their loans, how much they owe, what their payment will be and how much time they have to pay it back.   

    It’s been endorsed by the Washington Student Association and passed in the Senate earlier this month.

    Bill sponsor Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, told the Seattle Times that graduates are often surprised by the size of their monthly payment when it comes time to repay their loans.

    Bailey is also sponsoring Senate Bill 5100, which would require colleges to provide financial literacy seminars on grant programs, scholarships, work-study opportunities, student loan options and money management. 

    The bills are two of four student loan bills that are being considered this session.

    The House has passed a Student Loan Bill of Rights, House Bill 1440,  which was proposed by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office. It would create a student loan ombudsman and require loan providers to be certified.

    House Bill 1169 would create a student loan debt hotline and provide education resources about loans. 


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