Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. and Senator Robert Singer to assure that New Jersey families understand student loan rates, schedules, debt and defaults was signed into law today by Gov. Chris Christie.
“The price of college and complexity of student loans impose short- and long-term stresses on families,” said Kean (R-Union). “It is paramount that our schools educate students and families about the immediate and future costs of collegiate investments to help them choose the right college and career path.”
In 2010, student debt exceeded credit-card debt for the first time. In 2011, it surpassed auto loans. Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that student debt had passed $1 trillion.
Senator Kean’s and Singer’s S-2150/A-1083 requires the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to annually publish online and distribute to public and nonpublic high schools information about various student loan options and examples of repayment schedules based on current interest rates. High schools are required to annually distribute this report to 11th and 12th graders.
“The average New Jersey student who graduates from a 4 year public or private institution graduates with $23,792 in debt,” emphasized Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “In many cases, it takes a village of support, including relatives and friends, for a student to afford that liability. The stranglehold loans can have on alumni struggling to leave their parents’ houses to start their professional lives can be physically and emotionally crippling.”
The Senate Republican caucus remains committed to decreasing the cost of college for New Jersey families, and could do so if the state Assembly jumps on board.
Senator Singer also sponsors a measure to eliminate a costly and otherwise detrimental state mandate that full-time college students in New Jersey maintain and prove health insurance coverage. That bill, S-2291, has not received any Assembly hearings.
To address New Jersey’s third-highest, rising college tuition, fellow Senate Republican Gerald Cardinale sponsors an initiative passed by the full Senate that requires a vote by the full Assembly.
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