Potential amendment could lower cost of Student Transparency Act

From staff reports

State senators discussed an amendment that would lower the cost of implementing the Student Transparency Act at the Washington Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing.

The act would require higher education institutions to give notifications about how much debt a student has, as well as an estimated pay-off time.

Clint McCarthy, Higher Education Committee coordinator and analyst, said most of the implementation would require the Student Achievement Council, Work Force Training Board and the Department of Licensing to create a form of reporting compliance for the institutions by Jan. 1, 2018.

“They would also work on having the schools report their compliance by Dec. 2019 and then bi-annually after that,” McCarthy said.

When similar legislation passed, in Indiana, the number of processed loans decreased by 16 percent, Washington Assistant Attorney General Laura Baird said.

A potential amendment would lower the cost of the bill by $150,000. The costs would be lowered by implementing the IT program using resources that are already available, Baird said.

“Students need to know how much debt they’re accumulating and it needs to be done on a regular basis,” the bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Barbara Bailey (R) said.

Students from around the state testified in favor of the bill.

“This will solve a lot of problems for students,” said Benjamin Rowe, an Associated Students of Eastern Washington University representative.

The bill was in executive session yesterday, but no action was taken, according to a state legislature update.

Reporting by Danny Lochrigde