House bill would provide student loan assistance

DOVER — A bill introduced Thursday would create an overseer to assist students with college loans in an effort to provide recommendations and help slow the skyrocketing debt many college students face.

Filed by Rep. David Bentz, D-Newark, the legislation would establish a student loan ombudsman in the Office of the State Bank Commissioner. The ombudsman would develop a course to provide information on payment, loan forgiveness and requirements.

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David Bentz

“This generation of college graduates and current students is being saddled with more debt than any previous generation,” Rep. Bentz said in a statement. “This burden is forcing young people to delay other major life decisions, such as buying a house and starting a family. I was fortunate, but many other young people run into problems with unscrupulous student loan servicers. Others just have questions or other concerns.”

According to the Institute For College Access and Success, Delawareans had an average student debt of about $33,800, most in the nation.

The bill has been placed in the House Education Committee.

Other legislation filed Thursday deals with Sunday hunting, teacher licensure suspension and upgraded voting machines.

A substitute for a bill that would have expanded hunting to Sundays would instead allow deer hunting on five specific Sundays in October, November, December and January.

Another proposal would give the Education Department greater authority to remove licenses for teachers accused of misconduct.

According to the state, the agency investigated 105 cases of potential educator misconduct between September 2012 and September 2014.

With the state’s voting machines rapidly becoming outdated, the Department of Elections plans to replace them within four years. A bill filed Thursday would create an advisory committee to provide recommendations to the election commissioner.

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