The bill authorizes a postsecondary institution to refuse to provide a transcript or diploma to a current or former student, except a foreign student, on the grounds that the student owes a debt for tuition, room and board fees, or financial aid funds, unless the student is requesting and can demonstrate that the transcript or diploma is needed for certain purposes.If a postsecondary institution provides a transcript or diploma to a current or former student or foreign student who owes a debt, the bill prohibits
a the postsecondary institution from:
Refusing to provide a transcript or diploma for a current or former student on the grounds that the student owes a debt;
- Conditioning the provision of a transcript or diploma on the payment of a debt, other than a fee charged to provide the transcript or diploma;
- Charging a higher fee to obtain a transcript or diploma or providing less favorable treatment in response to a transcript or diploma request because a current or former student owes a debt; or
- Using transcript or diploma issuance as a tool for debt collection.
The bill provides a civil right of action to a current or former student whose transcript or diploma is withheld for any of the prohibited reasons and entitles the person to injunctive relief, a civil penalty of up to $500 for each violation, and reasonable attorney fees and costs. The bill authorizes the administrator of the "Uniform Consumer Credit Code" to enjoin the practice of withholding a transcript or diploma and assess a postsecondary institution a penalty of $500 for each violation.The bill requires each postsecondary institution to adopt a policy that outlines the process by which a student may obtain a transcript or diploma and the circumstances under which a transcript or diploma may be withheld from a current or former student, except a foreign student.Beginning July 1, 2024, the bill requires each postsecondary institution to annually report certain information to the department of higher education concerning transcript, diploma, and registration holds.The bill authorizes the student loan ombudsperson to provide information to the public regarding the limits on withholding a transcript or diploma and may receive complaints from a current or former student who has had a transcript or diploma withheld.Beginning January 2025, the bill requires the attorney general's office to compile data on the complaints received by the student loan ombudsperson concerning transcript and diploma holds and annually report the data through the annual SMART act hearing.
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)