Stock three students holding diplomas 4 27SPRINGFIELD – Student debt is the second leading source of consumer debt in America, just behind mortgage loans. Illinois students across the state would have more options to protect themselves from falling behind on their student debt under a measure championed through the Higher Education Committee by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) on Tuesday.

Under Senator Fine’s legislation, universities would be prohibited from withholding transcripts as a means of debt collection. 

“Currently, students are not able to access their transcripts due to the student owing money to the university,” Senator Fine said. “Having access to their transcripts would allow students to seek the jobs necessary to pay off these loans.”

Universities would be required to offer debt repayment plan options for any student who has a balance of $250 or more immediately following the semester. Students who owe less than $2,500 who are on a repayment plan would also be able to avoid an academic hold.

“Student debt is an enormous burden on students and the economy,” Senator Fine said. “This bill gives students a pathway to economic stability by creating a debt repayment plan that will rein in fees and interest charges. It also prohibits withholding of transcripts that may inhibit students from seeking employment.”

SB 3032 passed through the Higher Education Committee and now goes to the full Senate for further consideration.