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Davidson Helps Move Student Financial Education Bill; Governor Signs Into Law

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Steps to help ensure college students have a clearer understanding of student loan debt, and other ABCs of personal finance are increasingly warranted, State Treasurer Duane Davidson said in testimony to Washington State House lawmakers March 21. Davidson and Cody Eccles of the Council of Presidents both voiced support for Senate Bill 5100, which had already passed the Senate. It was subsequently approved by the full House and signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee May 4.

The measure will require Washington colleges in a major state aid program to help ensure starting next year that incoming students participate in a workshop to further educate them on student aid offers, how to help pay their own way, salaries in different jobs, and other financial literacy points and resources.

In testimony to the House Higher Education Committee, Davidson said:

“I know that college students are bombarded with…credit card solicitations and solicitations and offerances for student debt. And…some of it is not the best option that they can take.

…I tell my kids, ‘I basically worked my way through college and finished without any debt…my kids tell me all the time, ‘That was a long time ago, Dad.'”

The enacted legislation stipulates that subject to appropriations, state higher education institutions will by the start of the 2017-18 academic year “take reasonable steps to ensure that each incoming student participates in a financial workshop” to help them better evaluate risks and benefits of different college financial aid offers, and to provide additional financial education.

TVW, Washington state’s public affairs television channel, captured the March 21 Committee hearing. Here is Treasurer Davidson’s testimony:

The financial aid counseling curriculum to be provided under the new state law must track with one already established by the Washington Student Achievement Council at the direction of the legislature in 2012, for students at institutions participating in the State Need Grant program.