"It makes very clear to students they can seek loans elsewhere," said Benjamin Rosenberg, Andrew Cuomo's Chief Trial Counsel. They're not limited to the preferred lender list of a particular school, and it makes clear student rights with respect to lenders and the lender's schools."
Rosenberg made sure students at Greece know their "Bill of Rights" when it comes to loans. Some of those include: The right to unbiased advice about loans and lenders from your financial aid office; The right to chose the lender that is best for you, even if that lender is not included on your school's preferred lender list; and The right to know what criteria your school uses to select preferred lenders, and the right to know whether preferred lenders are paying the school or financial aid officials.
As for lenders, about 12 have already signed a code of conduct that says they will not get to cozy with colleges by offering gifts to employees in order to be called a preferred lender. And so far, many lenders are on board.
"Schools are being very careful to review to make sure they comply with SLATE," Rosenberg said. "They're making sure they don't have improper relations with private lenders, and financial aid offices aren't receiving any money."
Seniors at Greece Academy say they now have a better understanding of the loan process, and when they leave next year, they'll be able to make the right choices.
"My parents are usually the ones who would handle all that," said Kristin Eckert, "but i think i'm going to be more involved now."
"I learned that even though there's a top five list of the best loans, you can definitely make a mistake," said Jacob Scheuermann.
Rosenberg says if colleges and lenders don't comply with the new law, they will face fines.