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New bill aims to help students understand loans

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 9:10 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Several public universities across Oklahoma have raised their tuition rates for next school year.

Because of this, many students will have to take out bigger student loans.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 261, or the Oklahoma Student Loan Bill of Rights, would make sure that students will know exactly what they’re getting into if they need to take out a loan.

With student loan debt climbing across the country, Oklahoma legislators like Senator John Michael Montgomery are making sure borrowers know of all the details of the loans that they take out.

“So the Student Loan Borrowers Bill of Rights, basically the idea is that to ensure that there’s protections for those who are taking out student loans,” Senator Montgomery said. “We’ve heard examples of basically issues where payments were misapplied, and there were issues around kind of disclosing what all was entailed in those loans and that sort of thing.”

Senate Bill 261 was co-authored by Montgomery.

Right now, lenders are not required to disclose how payments are being used on loan balances.

Montgomery hopes this new legislation would provide more transparency for students.

“So in the bill, it basically just describes that their disclosure has to the student for what kind of loan they’re taking out, what kind of protections they have in that process,” Montgomery said. “So basically, how are their payments applied towards paying off loans, or just what kind of payment structures and things like that.”

This bill will not go into effect until later this year, but at Cameron University, they’re already doing what they can to educate students about financial aid.

Yaping Ligon, a financial resource specialist at Cameron, helps students manage their money wisely.

“I help them navigate college and personal finances, so anywhere from understanding how far their aid will stretch, and maybe some options about how to fill in the gap, and then personal finances, maybe budgeting, planning for the semester, or understanding credit use,” Ligon said.

At Cameron, their tuition will not increase this school year, but Ligon says Bill 261 is still a big step for her students.

“I think it will be really great to have that added protection, to hold all lenders to a uniform standard and say hey this is what our borrowers need to know, and maybe this is what has been not communicated as well in the past, so I’m glad that there is that protection,” Ligon said.

Ligon said that although she thinks the bill will be very helpful for students, she still emphasizes the importance of learning all types of financial literacy.

This is the fourth year in a row that Cameron will have the same tuition rate.

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