New Jersey lawmakers are looking to revise the state’s student loan program as more and more people complain about the crippling debts faced by NJ students, and their families, after they leave college.
Many people have criticized the ways in which NJ officials operate the college student loan program. Among the complaints lodged against the program are that it forces young people to make an impossible choice between racking up huge debts while attending university or entering the workforce without a college degree and subsequently earning significantly less money.
Another complaint about the New Jersey student loan program is that it’s predatory, with the rates charged on the loans putting the loan recipients in a difficult position almost immediately upon graduation – if the student graduates at all. The end result of the high interest rates that accompany student loans in New Jersey is that college students, and sometimes their families, can be forced into bankruptcy.
The NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESSA) runs the state’s student loan program. During a recent hearing in front of the Senate Legislature Oversight Committee, parents testified that they had no choice but to declare bankruptcy when HESSA refused to give them any leeway or help them restructure their kids’ loans.
Last month, it was revealed that New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS), the state-run organization that helps students pay for college costs not already covered by grants, scholarships, and other loans, is particularly inflexible when it comes to working with borrowers. Moreover, NJCLASS reportedly takes an aggressive approach to collections, which can cause a great deal of stress for borrowers who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Now NJ legislators are attempting to do something about student loan difficulties in New Jersey, with the NJ Senate Higher Education Committee recently approving a bill that would forgive loans in the event that the borrower passes away. Under existing law, a parent or guardian who co-signed the student loan – something that is often necessary in order to secure the loan in the first place – would still be on the hook for the full amount after the loan recipient dies. Remarkably, the NJ student loan program is far more stringent than the federal student loan program in this regard: federal students loans are forgiven when the borrower dies, but NJ state student loans are not forgiven.
Although the recently proposed law would not completely solve the problems with the state’s student loan program or alleviate all of the debts incurred by college students in New Jersey, it is a good first step.
For more information, read the Press of Atlantic City article, “NJ Legislators Take First Step to Revamp ‘Predatory’ Student Loans.”
If you or your child is struggling with student loan debt, it is imperative that you speak with a qualified debt management attorney as soon as possible. Joel R. Spivack, Esq., is an experienced debt relief attorney with the knowledge and expertise needed to help you explore your best options for getting out of debt. Contact Mr. Spivack anytime to schedule a free consultation.