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California lawmaker floats plan to reduce student debt

April 08, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • Nolan Wong, left, packs for his sophomore year at UC Berkeley with help from his sister, Delaney, who will be a freshman at UC Santa Cruz.
Nolan Wong, left, packs for his sophomore year at UC Berkeley with help from… (Lezlie Sterling / MCT )

A California lawmaker and undergraduates concerned about record student-loan debt are rallying at the Capitol today for measures to protect those attending universities from going too deeply into hock.

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) is joining the students to seek support for a package of bills he has introduced.

One bill, AB 233, would prevent wage garnishing on student loans not made or guaranteed by the government, while AB 534 would require universities to provide entrance and exit counseling to students regarding institutional or state-funded loans.

A third bill,  AB 391, would require high school students to take a class on personal finances, including topics such as budgeting, savings, paying for college, borrowing and credit.

 “Our students should be able to pursue their dream of a college degree without having to jeopardize their financial future by going deep into debt,” Wieckowski said in a statement. 

 “This is a crisis that is getting worse,’’ he added. "A college education is supposed to improve your financial security, not destroy it.’’

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., said he supports efforts to help students learn to avoid becoming overburdened with loans: “Anything that gives students actual life skills is a step in the right direction."

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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