March 15, 2023

Hoosiers with student debt could regain access to college transcripts under new bill

Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) authored the bill.  - Ben Thorp/WFYI

Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) authored the bill.

Ben Thorp/WFYI

A bill that would limit the ability of colleges and universities to withhold transcripts as a debt collection tactic passed out of Indiana’s House education committee Wednesday.

It’s common practice for colleges to withhold transcripts from students with outstanding debt. The practice disproportionately affects low-income students who want to finish their degree or get a job.

Jason Bearce, with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, testified in support of the bill. He said it increases access to living wage jobs and upward mobility.

“These Hoosiers lack a record of the college credits they've earned,” he said. “They're saddled with that and they're stymied from completing the remaining credits required to earn their degree, which would of course ironically, increase their prospects of paying off that debt.”

If passed, this bill would allow students to have access to their transcripts, as long as they pay at least $100 towards their debt within the last year or set up a payment plan. For students who owe over $1,000, the maximum payment is $300.

Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) authored the bill.

“At the end of the day this is a bill about making sure that our employers have the employees that they need… and that our Hoosiers have access to high paying jobs,” Deery said.

The bill passed the first reading in the House unanimously.

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