New bill would ban colleges from withholding transcripts as means of collecting student debt

Cindy Lucero, of Stratford, says she has wanted to be a registered nurse ever since she was a child. Now she may not be able to take her final due to unpaid tuition.

News 12 Staff

Mar 2, 2023, 10:26 PM

Updated 450 days ago

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A Stratford woman is one exam away from becoming a registered nurse but says she can't take that exam until she pays her tuition in full. A new bill could change that.
Cindy Lucero, of Stratford, says she has wanted to be a registered nurse ever since she was a child. She was inspired by her Aunt Marisol, a beloved mentor who was working toward being a registered nurse but died before she could achieve that dream.
"She's always been kind of my drive to do what she wasn't able to do," said Lucero.
The married mother of two girls has almost finished her nursing studies and will soon be able to take her state board exams -- but there's a problem.
"I can't take my state boards until my transcripts are released from my school," she said.
The 31-year-old, who capped out her student loans becoming an LPN, says she can't get her transcripts until she pays off the $3,500 in tuition she owes, since her school, Goodwin University in Hartford, like most others, withholds the documents as an incentive for students to pay. So, Lucero started a GoFundMe to help raise the money she needs.
"You reach a point sometimes where you gotta put your pride to the side and ask for help," she said.
There is a bill now before state lawmakers that would prohibit institutions of higher learning from withholding transcripts as a means of collecting student debt.
"Cindy is much less likely to be able to pay off her debts if she can't get a job," said Sen. Derek Slap.
Slap, who authored the bill, says it has broad bipartisan support. He expects it to be passed into law.
"How are you going to get money from somebody who is not able to work and is not able to advance their career? It just doesn't make any sense," he said.
Slap says he worked with institutions of higher learning to add a compromise to the measure to make it more acceptable to them.
"We appreciate the compromise language in this bill, which allows institutions to continue to place holds on transcripts but requires that a transcript be shared for purposes of employment," said someone from the school.
"This bill that lawmakers are considering would be a tremendous help for not only myself, but I'm sure a lot of other people out there in the same situation," said Lucero.
Slap says he expects the bill to be voted on later this year.
Lucero also has a GoFundMe. To donate, click here


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