Next week, the Massachusetts Senate is likely to address legislation that will have an impact on higher education institutions in Massachusetts, their students and financial institutions extending loans to such students. These bills are among the first substantial pieces of legislation in the area of education to be taken up during the 2015-2016 legislative session.
Senate bill 175, An Act Relative to Unsolicited Loans, prohibits financial institutions from issuing an “unsolicited loan instrument”, such as a negotiable check, money order or draft. This bill also provides protections in the event that such an instrument is used by an unauthorized third party. The full text of the bill can be found here.
Senate bill 2183, An Act Expanding the Community College Workforce Training Incentive Program, amends an existing grant program that targets vocationally-oriented instruction at community colleges. Under the current program, only not-for-credit training programs at community colleges are eligible to receive the grants. Should Senate bill 2183 be signed into law, all vocationally-oriented instruction (for-credit and not-for-credit instruction) will be eligible for the grants. The full text of the bill can be found here.
Senate bill 2184, An Act Relative to Uniform Financial Aid Information, mandates that each higher education institutions provide a “uniform financial aid information shopping sheet” to accepted applicants of the institution. A shopping sheet is a document that provides prospective students with simplified information related to financial aid. The full text of the bill can be found here.
All of these bills are subject to an amendment deadline in the Senate of 5pm on Monday, March 21. While the scheduling of these bill is an indication that there is significant support for their passage in the Senate, the ultimate fate of these bill has yet to be determined. The House of Representatives has not taken action on these bills and the deadline for considering major legislative proposals is July 31, 2016. Even if these bills pass both the House and the Senate, the governor’s office will have an opportunity to express support or opposition if any bill reaches the governor’s desk this year.