pexels andrea piacquadio 37628001SPRINGFIELD – Universities will no longer be able to withhold transcripts from students who have not yet paid off their tuition balance, thanks to a new law supported by State Senator Mattie Hunter.

“Debt collection can be such a beast, especially when it targets students or those who have recently graduated,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “Students have worked hard for their degree, and they deserve access to their transcripts despite their financial status.”

The new law prohibits the withholding of an official transcript from a current or potential employer as a means of collecting a student's past due debt. Further, institutions of higher education must have in place a process for withdrawal due to financial or physical hardship that works to limit the debt owed by the student.

Additionally, universities will be required to offer debt repayment plan options for any student who has a balance of $250 or more immediately following the semester. Students who owe less than $2,500 who are on a repayment plan would also be able to avoid an academic hold.

“If a student does not have access to their transcript, how are they supposed to be able to further their education, apply for an internship, or even get a job?” Hunter said. “Withholding transcripts will only create more obstacles for graduates to pay back their loans.”

If an institution of higher education does send a current or former student's past due fees to a debt collection agency, they cannot be reported to any credit reporting agencies, in accordance with federal law.

Senate Bill 3032 was signed into law Friday and is effective immediately.