Minnesota AG proposes more protections for college students

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Students who attend for-profit colleges or borrow money to pay for college deserve better customer service, according to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.

Swanson said Tuesday she has drafted legislation that would address both those issues.

Her proposal would require for-profit colleges to be more upfront with students about job-placement and graduation rates, the Star Tribune reports. It's another step in her campaign against what she calls "aggressive enrollment" tactics on the part of for-profit schools.

Swanson filed suit in July against the Minnesota School of Business and Globe University, which are held under common ownership, claiming they have systematically deceived their students.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson

The two colleges are accused of misleading graduates about job opportunities and their ability to transfer credits to other higher-education institutions. That has burdened them with thousands of dollars in school loans and little chance of finding employment, Swanson claims in the lawsuit.

The other aim of her proposed legislation is to prompt college loan servicing companies to provide more straightforward information to students about the terms of their loans, according to MPR News.

Swanson said her office is seeing more complaints from students and their parents who are getting the runaround from private lenders, even when they ask for basic information such as the amount they owe, the interest rate they're being charged and repayment options, MPR News reports.

Her "Borrower's Bill of Rights" would require loan service companies to give students updates on their loans while they're still in school, and to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose basic information such as the loan amount, the interest rate being charged and due dates, according to the Star Tribune.

The measures would only apply to private loan servicers, not federally guaranteed student loans.

Swanson said she is talking with several legislators who may be interested in sponsoring the bill during the upcoming legislative session, MPR News notes.

The attorney general's website has more information for people who are considering enrolling in a for-profit college.

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