SECTION 1. Chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 19E the following section:-
(a) Institutions of higher education shall not withhold a student's academic transcripts solely due to that student's failure to pay any loan payments, fines, fees, tuition, or other expenses owed to the institution, except that a student's academic credits and grades may be withheld for any course for which that student's tuition and mandatory course fees are not paid in full. For students paying on a per semester basis, such an institution may withhold a student’s academic credits or grades for any course taken in a semester for which that student’s tuition and mandatory course fees have not been paid.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent an institution of higher education from withholding a student's diploma or degree due to that student's failure to pay any loan payments, fines, fees, tuition, or other expenses owed to the institution.
(c) This section shall apply to all postsecondary institutions including: (i) the system of public institutions of higher education, established in section 5; (ii) private occupational schools, as defined in section 263 of chapter 112; and (iii) private colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning.
(d) The department of higher education shall promulgate regulations consistent with this section necessary for its implementation.
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