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Public Act 102-0998


 

Public Act 0998 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  
  

 


 
Public Act 102-0998
 
SB3032 EnrolledLRB102 22166 CMG 31295 b

    AN ACT concerning education.
 
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
 
    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
Student Debt Assistance Act.
 
    Section 5. Definitions. In this Act:
    "Debt" means any money, obligation, claim, or sum due or
owing or alleged to be due or owing from a student to an
institution of higher education. "Debt" does not include the
fee, if any, that is charged to students by an applicable
provider for the actual cost of providing an academic
transcript to a student.
    "Institution of higher education" includes, but is not
limited to, an institution to which the Private Business and
Vocational Schools Act of 2012 or the Private College Act
applies and a public institution of higher education included
in the definition of "public institutions of higher education"
under the Board of Higher Education Act. "Institution of
higher education" also includes a person engaged in the
business of providing postsecondary education, via
correspondence or online or in this State, to an individual
located in this State, regardless of whether the person has
obtained authorization from the Board of Higher Education to
operate in this State or is accredited.
    "Official transcript" means the academic transcript or a
similar academic record of each current or former student of
an institution of higher education that is deemed official,
authenticated, certified, or bona fide and that contains
information customarily provided on an official academic
transcript, including, but not limited to, courses taken,
terms, grades, degrees or credentials conferred, and any other
similar information.
    "Unofficial transcript" means the academic transcript or a
similar academic record of each current or former student of
an institution of higher education that contains information
customarily provided on an official transcript, but cannot be
used to transfer academic credits to another institution of
higher education.
 
    Section 10. Withholding of unofficial transcripts
prohibited. An institution of higher education may not do any
of the following:
        (1) Refuse to provide an unofficial transcript to a
    current or former student on the grounds that the student
    owes a debt.
        (2) Condition the provision of an unofficial
    transcript on the payment of a debt, other than a fee
    charged to provide the transcript.
        (3) Charge a higher fee for obtaining an unofficial
    transcript or provide less favorable treatment of a
    request for an unofficial transcript because a current or
    former student owes a debt.
 
    Section 15. Withholding of official transcripts. An
institution of higher education:
        (1) must provide an official transcript of a current
    or former student to a current or potential employer, even
    if the current or former student owes a debt;
        (2) may not condition the provision of an official
    transcript to a current or potential employer on the
    payment of a debt, other than a fee charged to provide the
    transcript; and
        (3) may not charge a higher fee for transferring an
    official transcript to a current or potential employer or
    provide less favorable treatment for such a request
    because a current or former student owes a debt.
 
    Section 20. Physical or financial hardship policy.
    (a) Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, every
institution of higher education must have a policy instituting
a financial or physical hardship withdrawal process. The
process must work to limit debt owed by students who have to
withdraw from the institution due to a significant financial
or physical hardship and to assist those students if and when
they choose to re-enroll. Types of hardship shall include, but
are not limited to:
        (1) serious injury or illness;
        (2) chronic illness;
        (3) a medical issue of a family member in which the
    student has to become a part-time or full-time caretaker
    of that family member;
        (4) a mental health condition;
        (5) a sudden or consistent lack of transportation
    issue; and
        (6) a significant cost of living increase.
    (b) Information regarding the existence of the financial
or physical hardship withdrawal process shall be publicized on
the institution of higher education's website, and information
must be given to students as part of any school orientation
process.
 
    Section 25. Student debt and credit report. If an
institution of higher education chooses to send a current or
former student's past due debt to a debt collection agency,
the past due debt may not be reported to any credit reporting
agencies, except as provided by federal law.
 
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 5/27/2022