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7 Colorado education bills are being signed today: Here’s a breakdown of each one

May 13, 2019

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday was signing seven new education bills into law, on issues from student loans and financial aid to limits on suspensions for younger students.

Here’s a breakdown of each one:

Limits on suspending younger students

HB19-1194 limits suspensions and expulsions for preschoolers through second-graders. The exceptions to the rule would only include serious offenses, including safety, drug or weapon issues. Supporters of the bill argued that suspending younger children is ineffective.

Sponsors: Rep. Susan Lontine, Rep. Colin Larson, Sen. Kevin Priola, Sen. Rhonda Fields.

More | Colorado lawmakers approve limits on suspension, expulsion of preschool to 2nd-grade students

Incentive for saving for college

HB19-1280 creates an incentive for parents to create a college savings account. Any parent of a child who is born or adopted in Colorado on or after Jan. 1, 2020, can claim $100 from the state’s CollegeInvest program when they create a college savings account.

Sponsors: Rep. Leslie Herod, Rep. KC Becker, Sen. Stephen Fenberg.

Making ASSET students eligible for financial aid

HB19-1196 makes undocumented students in the state’s ASSET program eligible to receive financial aid. The ASSET program – Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow – allows eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.

Sponsors: Rep. Serena Gonzalez-Gutierrez, Sen. Dominick Moreno.

Tax credit for early childhood educators

HB19-1005 gives an income tax credit to early-childhood educators who hold an early-childhood professional credential and who work in either an early childhood program or a childcare home.

Sponsors: Rep. Janet Buckner, Rep. James Wilson, Sen. Nancy Todd, Sen. Kevin Priola.

Regulating student loan servicers

SB19-002 requires any student loan servicer for Colorado residents to be licensed by the state department of law. The bill also creates a student loan ombudsman position to help borrowers.

Sponsors: Sen. Faith Winter, Sen. Stephen Fenberg, Rep. Dylan Roberts, Rep. Dominique Jackson.

Expanding educator loan forgiveness program

SB19-003 changes the name of the teacher loan forgiveness program and expands the program, providing up to 100 new participants each year. The loan forgiveness program repays up to $5,000 for up to five years for teachers who qualify for the program. The program targets teachers and educators in hard-to-fill positions.

Sponsors: Sen. Rachel Zensinger, Sen. Don Coram, Rep. Barbara McLachlan, Rep. Bob Rankin.

Increasing student-aid application rates

HB19-1187 : Aimed at increasing the number of student-aid application rates, this bill provides $250,000 each year for the next three years toward educating students and their families on completing the applications for federal and state student aid.

Sponsors: Rep. James Coleman, Sen. Jeff Bridges.