Student Bill of Rights passes 1st hurdle, reports Rep. Betts

State Rep. Whit Betts (R-Bristol, Plymouth) joined fellow legislators in announcing that a plan to create a Student Bill of Rights passed a key legislative hurdle and has been approved by the Banking Committee.

H.B.- 6915, An Act Concerning a Student Bill of Rights, crafted by both the Higher Education and Employment and Banking committees, was unanimously approved by the banking committee, said a press release from Betts’s office. The legislation is aimed at regulating student loan servicers and establishing a student loan ombudsman to assist student borrowers and parents. If passed, Connecticut would be the first state in the country to adopt such a measure, said the release.

Currently, the release from Betts’s office said, student loan debt is the fastest rising source of debt second to household debt nationwide. Sixty-four percent of students who graduate college do so with student loan debt; the median debt is $30,191. Twenty-five percent of student loan borrowers are in deferment, forbearance, or default status.

“I’m particularly proud of the education component of the bill regarding financial literacy,” said Betts, Ranking Member of the legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement committee, according to the press release. “This will not only help to inform borrowers on making positive financial decisions regarding their education, this knowledge can be applied to all aspects of their financial future, including purchases for a home, car, etc. It’s refreshing to take constructive and immediate action to assist current and future students with the financial challenges of going to college.”

The 2015 legislative session will adjourn on June 3.