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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Student Loan Reporting Bill Passes State Senate

The Montana Senate has passed a bill that would request that the Montana University System host workshops to help students better manage their debt.

Senate Bill 87, sponsored by Senator Keith Regier from Kalispell, is scheduled for the House Education Committee Wednesday.

The bill would also inform students twice a year how much debt they have accumulated. Regier says students often accrue debt in college and don’t think about it until they have to pay.

"My concern is for the students when they graduate," Regier says.

The workshops would also tell borrowers average rates for debt and job placement in their field of study. That’s something Julian Adler with the Montana Public Interest Research Group, disagrees with. He says getting a specific degree doesn’t mean making enough money to pay debt.

"So, unless there’s some sort of strict control, the information you’d be getting wouldn’t be entirely honest or entirely helpful," Adler says.

The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 32-to-17.

Tim Pierce is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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