Senate passes Oklahoma Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights Act
Mike Seals - March 2, 2021 10:25 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate approved Senate Bill 261 on Tuesday to protect student borrowers looking to further their education. The measure is authored by Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton.
SB 261 would direct the attorney general to prepare a written statement including an “Oklahoma Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights,” which must include plain and clear language prohibiting any student loan servicer from engaging in any act that misleads, deceives or defrauds student borrowers.
Under the measure, loan servicers would also be prohibited from making false statements or omitting material facts when submitting reports to a governmental agency.
“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,” 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.”
A 2018 study conducted by the non-profit Student Debt Crisis found that more than one in three student loan borrowers had difficulty assessing information about their loans and repayment status. The study also found nearly 60 percent of borrowers experienced unclear guidance about their repayment situation.
“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.”
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, is the House principal author.
For more information, contact: Sen. John Michael Montgomery at 405-521-5567, or email [email protected].