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Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education

Baumgartner testifies on student debt literacy bill

Coordinating Commission Executive Director Mike Baumgartner recently testified in favor of a bill introduced in the Nebraska Legislature that would require colleges and universities to provide students with detailed annual information regarding their student loan debt.

LB 726, introduced by Sen. Kate Sullivan, would require the state's public postsecondary institutions to update their students every year about the amount of federal loans they have received and how long it will take to pay off those loans.

The Education Committee heard testimony on the bill at a Jan. 19 hearing at the Capitol. In his testimony, Baumgartner cited a recent national study that showed:

  • Only 24 percent of beginning students knew within 10 percent how much they had borrowed in federal loans
  • 51 percent underestimated their loan debt by 10 percent or more
  • 25 percent overestimated their debt by 10 percent or more
  • 28 percent with federal loans reported they had no federal loans

While LB 726 would not eliminate college debt in Nebraska, Baumgartner said, it would be an important tool for students and their families to make better decisions about student loans.

LB 726 is modeled after a bill passed by Indiana lawmakers in 2015. Wisconsin legisiators are considering a similar bill, as well.