All high school students would receive instruction on available State and federal student loans, as well as student loan debt under legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) and advanced by the Senate Budget Committee.
Sen. Robert Singer’s bill would add instruction on student loans, including how to pay them back, as a high school graduation requirement. (SenateNJ.com)
“No one should rush into signing a contract that could cost them tens of thousands of dollars without fully understanding the repercussions of making such an enormous decision,” Senator Singer said. “High school students statewide are already required to take a financial literacy course in order to graduate. Without a doubt, learning how to get a student loan and more importantly, how to pay it back, is essential to understanding how to manage money in today’s world.”
Sen. Singer’s bill, S-990, would require the State Board of Education to add this instruction as a graduation requirement, beginning with the 2017-2018 graduating class. The instruction, which will fall under the current financial literacy course requirement, must also incorporate issues associated with student loan debt, the requirements for repayment of that debt, and the consequences of the failure to repay it in a timely manner.
Students would also be required to meet with a guidance counselor during their sophomore or junior year to discuss State and federal tuition assistance programs, including grants, scholarships and loans they may be eligible for. The guidance counselor would also cover ways to reduce the cost of higher education, such as options for earning college credit while still in high school.
“We know that the process of applying for a loan is far too complex and that many graduates aren’t getting an education that matches what they paid just to get through the classroom door,” Senator Singer added. “This doesn’t change the fact that it is extremely difficult to become financially independent without a college degree. As we work to achieve greater reform, we must do everything we can to ensure future graduates are prepared to handle this responsibility.”
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