Assemblywoman Luz Rivas Ends Predatory College Debt Collection Practice

Friday, October 4, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 1313, a measure authored by California State Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), and sponsored by the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was signed into law by the Governor today. AB 1313 establishes the Educational Debt Collection Practices Act which prohibits postsecondary schools from refusing to provide a transcript for a current or former student on the grounds that the student owes a debt. 

Investigations by the Department of Justice and the journalistic tenacity of the media have documented and uncovered instances of schools and colleges threatening to withhold a student’s transcript if a student owes debt or is alleged to owe a debt, sometimes only totaling five dollars.

“Thank you Governor Newsom for signing AB 1313, which gives all of our students a chance to succeed regardless of their financial situation. A recent UC Student Association study highlighted that students of color and low-income students are three times more likely to take on student loan debt than their white and wealthier peers,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “There are plenty of other options on the table for the collection of debt, but withholding a student’s transcript should not be one of those options. The passage of AB 1313 eliminates higher education institutions’ ability to use the predatory practice of withholding transcripts to collect student debt. California continues to put students first.”

“As our nation struggles under the weight of a $1.5 trillion student debt crisis, it is essential that we follow every road to help students succeed,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today, with AB 1313 signed into law, California is a taking a step toward solving a chicken and egg dilemma. Students with debt can no longer be denied their transcripts – one of the most important tools students need to help address their debt. We’re proud to help protect students from unfair debt collection practices – no one should be denied opportunity simply because of their financial situation.” 

Student loan debt has exceeded $1.52 trillion, which is greater than all outstanding credit card debt in the nation. This type of debt can be difficult to overcome and withholding a student’s transcript only increases their inability to pay it off. Student transcripts are often needed to pursue internships, higher education, or career advancements. By withholding transcripts, students are put in a predicament where they are unable to advance their careers and get to a place where they can actually pay off their debt. 

“I would personally like to thank Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, AFSCME, California Community Colleges, California Faculty Association, California Teachers Association, Student Borrower Protection Center, UAW Local 5870, and UC Student-Workers Union of Davis for your strong support on AB 1313, so that we can ensure that all student have an equal opportunity to succeed,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas.

Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

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CONTACT:
Judy Yee, Judy.Yee@asm.ca.gov, 916.319.2039