Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

April 17, 2019

Lesser Introduced Legislation to Provide Consumer Protections for College Students Approved Unanimously by State Senate

HARTFORD, CT – Today, legislation to protect consumers from being defrauded by for-profit colleges and private occupational institutions passed the State Senate by a unanimous and bipartisan vote. State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) introduced this bill and provided public testimony for it as well. He said this legislation will provide students with important consumer protections.

“There have been too many instances of for-profit colleges and occupational schools defrauding students in recent years,” said Sen. Lesser. “Now they’re forcing students to give up their rights to pursue justice.”

Co-chair of the Higher Education and Employee Advancement Committee, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport), said this bill establishes necessary consumer protections to ensure students are not being defrauded.
“This bill puts important protections in place to keep consumers from being taken advantage of by private occupational and for-profit schools,” said Sen. Haskell. “Students should know from the start whether their schools seek to limit their participations or claims, not learn about those clauses after they have been wronged. This bill serves to hold bad actors accountable and protect students who choose to invest in a degree.”
If enacted, Senate Bill No. 81, “An Act Making Certain Private Occupational Schools Ineligible for A Certificate of Authorization and Public Funds,” would prevent private occupational schools and for-profit colleges that require students to waive certain rights as a condition of enrollment from receiving a certificate of authorization or public funds from the Office of Higher Education.

“This bill provides students with trust in the notion of consumer protection and is an important win in the consumer battle against mandatory arbitration clauses,” said Sen. Lesser.

Senate Bill No. 81 would reject for-profit colleges and private occupational institutions from requiring students to give up their right to join in class action lawsuits in order to stay enrolled, limit any claim made against the institution or assert any claim in anything less than a judicial forum. The bill passed the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee by a 16-5 vote. It will now await further action in the State House of Representatives.