SPRINGFIELD – Student loan debt is the 2nd highest consumer debt category, just behind mortgages. To help address this issue, today, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview)’s Senate Bill 3032 passed the Senate unanimously. Part of this legislation prohibits universities from withholding official transcripts from potential employers as a means of debt collection.

“It is discouraging for students who have made immense sacrifices to earn their degrees to be denied access to their transcripts until their debt is paid off,” Senator Fine said. “Having access to their transcripts is essential for students to seek the jobs necessary to pay off their debts, as well as finding a fulfilling career.”

Under Senator Fine’s legislation, universities would be prohibited from withholding transcripts as a means of debt collection. The bill also requires colleges to institute a hardship policy to ensure students that have to withdraw due to significant financial or physical hardship leave school with as little debt as possible. Additionally, the legislation would prevent student debt that gets sent to a collection’s agency from being used against a student’s credit score.

“Student debt is a serious burden on our students, universities, and economy,” Senator Fine said. “I am hopeful that this bill will give students more economic stability and allow them to seek employment reflective of the credentials they earned through their hard work, regardless if they still have student debt.”

SB 3032 passed the Senate unanimously on Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.