Bill to protect student borrowers signed into Oklahoma law
Mike Seals - April 28, 2021 10:57 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure that aims to protect student borrowers seeking to further their education has been signed into Oklahoma law.
Senate Bill 261 directs the state’s attorney general to write a statement which would include an “Oklahoma Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights,” as well as plain and clear language prohibiting student loan servicers from doing anything that misleads, deceives or defrauds student borrowers.
The measure also prohibits loan servicers from making false statements or excluding material facts when providing reports to government agencies.
“For many of our students, taking out loan debt is the only choice they have to further their education, whether it be in college or trade school,” Sen. John Michael Montgomery said. “Adding protections for our student borrowers to help them understand their repayment options and navigate loan servicing is important because it adds transparency to a process that will undoubtedly impact years of a student’s life.”
Officials cited a 2018 Student Debt Crisis study, which found that more than one in three student loan borrowers had trouble assessing information on their loans and repayment status. Sixty percent of borrowers received unclear guidance about their repayment status.
“According to the National Council of State Legislatures, the average borrower that attended a public college or university owes about $25,000 after graduation,” Montgomery said. “Even further, nearly 10 percent of borrowers have student loan balances of more than $80,000. The bottom line is, these students need to know what they are getting into prior to taking out these loans, and the Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights is a great first step to assist with transparency in this process.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Stitt signed the bill into law.