PORTSMOUTH, R.I. \u2014 The Senate Finance Committee this week took testimony on legislation sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer to protect student loan borrowers and establish oversight of student loan servicers operating in Rhode Island.\nThe legislation (2019-S 0737), titled the Student Loan Bill of Rights, sets standards for student loan servicing, both prohibiting predatory behavior and providing best practices for protecting consumers\u2019 rights. It requires that student loan servicers register with the state and allows state regulators to examine servicers\u2019 business practices. Additionally, the legislation allows the Attorney General and Department of Business Regulation to penalize servicers who violate borrower rights and to seek restitution on behalf of borrowers in Rhode Island. It would also require better communication from lenders to borrowers about any transfer of their loan to another institution and about any alternative repayment or forgiveness program for which the borrower may qualify.\nBorrowers in Rhode Island report being double-charged or incorrectly marked as delinquent in payment, with loan servicers taking months, or ever years, to correct mistakes.\u00a0 Additionally, many student loan borrowers eligible for the national \u201cPublic Service Loan Forgiveness\u201d program have received incorrect and contradictory information from their loan servicers, leading to improper denials of loan forgiveness.\n\u201cThe heavy burden of student debt is challenging enough for the majority of college graduates. Incompetent, inefficient or even deceitful loan servicers should not be allowed to exacerbate their struggles. Student loan servicers must be held accountable to ensure that they are providing honest, reliable information and services to their borrowers,\u201d said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown).\nThe bill is backed by both General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and has been incorporated into Gov. Gina M. Raimondo\u2019s 2020 budget proposal.\nMore than 133,000 Rhode Islanders, including 16,000 senior citizens, have a combined $4.5 billion in student loan debt. Over $470 million of Rhode Islanders\u2019 student loan debt is delinquent.\nHouse Health, Education and Welfare Chairman Joseph M. McNamara has introduced the legislation (2019-H 5936) in the House.