Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Student Loan Bill of Rights legislation passed the Washington House of Representatives on Wednesday, according to a news release.
The legislation contains two bills; one each from the House and Senate.
Ferguson says after receiving hundreds of complaints from student loan borrowers, the legislation is necessary to help thousands of Washingtonians with student loan debt.
“So it’s education for consumers, for students, so they can make better choices about their loans,” Ferguson said.
The House bill creates a student loan ombudsman to help resolve student loan complaints and hold student-loan servicers accountable by setting institutional standards.
The Senate bill calls for colleges and universities to keep students updated on how much they owe within 30 days of the disbursement of the loan.
Ferguson says similar laws are working for students in Connecticut, California and Washington, D.C.
“So what we are doing is modeling our legislation after states that require that, where you must inform students periodically about the status of their loans,” Ferguson said. “What they owe, when they have to pay it back and how much they have to pay back.”
Ferguson said students in those states do much better managing their debt and started borrowing 16 percent less overtime.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, more than half of the students who graduated from Washington colleges and universities are left with loan debt. Nationally, one in four is delinquent or in default with debt.
Ferguson says reducing those numbers will not only help the students, but will provide a boost to the state’s overall economy.