Learn more about our state's student loan struggles in this Nevada Current article. See below for highlights from my work last session.
"Nevada’s highest in the nation default rate “shows the need for us to do more to help people that are pursuing higher education make sure that they can access it affordably,” said Nevada Assemblyman Howard Watts, D-District 15.
Watts co-sponsored a bill in the recent legislative session that would have created additional regulations around the businesses that service student loans.
The language in Assembly Bill 383 was changed due to time and financial restraints, he said. However, as signed by the governor in June, it created a new position in the state treasurer’s office for a student loan ombudsman. The state is now screening candidates for the position with a goal of filling the role by the start of the new year, said state Treasurer Zach Conine.
That position’s work will be two-fold: helping potential borrowers understand the responsibilities and terms of student loans while ensuring those who’ve taken out loans are being treated fairly and understand their rights.
One of the goals is to offer Nevadans a neutral resource on student loans that doesn’t exist for the purposes of selling them something. Part of the logic behind the bill was a growing concern over students being steered into loans with unfair repayment terms nationwide and the lack of neutral resources statewide, Watts said.
...State lawmakers will receive a report from the ombudsman, and if servicers are not following best practices, legislators will also have the opportunity to address their concerns in future legislative sessions, Watts said.
“I’ve seen a lot of people from friends and just my broader personal network who struggle with student loan debt,” he said. “A lot of people I know went out of state to get an education and came back with student loan debt or moved here and brought their debt with them, and all of those people need assistance with figuring out what works best for them.”