George Mason University

News at Mason

Gov. Northam to sign student loan protection bill at Mason on Monday

June 13, 2018   /   by John Hollis

Virginia governor Ralph Northam will visit George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus on Monday afternoon to sign a bill that will better protect college students, including those at Mason, who borrow money to pay for their education.

Northam will appear in Room 1201 of Merten Hall for a 4 p.m. bill-signing ceremony. The bill—Senate Bill 394/House Bill 1138–provides critical loan consumer protections for students and their families and creates the Office of the Qualified Education Loan Ombudsman within the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

The statute is one of special interest to the Mason community and its large segment of minority and first-generation college students. Mason’s student loan default rate is 2 percent, well below the national average of 12 percent. Much of the university’s appeal lies in its affordability and availability, and this new state law may ensure that remains the case.

Key provisions of the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell and Del.  Marcia Price, include receiving, reviewing and attempting to resolve complaints from qualified education loan borrowers; compiling and analyzing data on those complaints; assisting qualified education loan borrowers in understanding their rights and responsibilities under the terms of qualified education loans; providing information regarding the problems and concerns of qualified education loan borrowers; analyzing and monitoring the development and implementation of applicable laws and policies and disseminating information concerning the availability of the office to assist education, educate loan borrowers and address any servicing concerns.

The Office of the Qualified Education Loan Ombudsman is additionally required to establish and maintain a qualified education loan borrower education course by December 1, 2019.

Those wishing to attend the bill signing ceremony should RSVP here.