Measure To Educate Families On College Debt Heads To Governor Christie
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 passed unanimously by the full Senate and heads to Gov. Christie for consideration.
“High school juniors and seniors pursue college with great anticipation and understandable anxiety,” said Kean (R-Union). “Students, parents and guardians are rightly concerned with finding the right schools, visiting campuses and preparing to live on their own. It is just as important for them to fully understand the substantial short- and long-term costs of collegiate investments.”
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,” concluded Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “In many cases, that liability is shared by parents or guardians. New Jersey’s school system — and those in other states — must better educate families about the rising cost of college. This is just as important as any element of college preparation. The stranglehold loans can have on alumni struggling to leave their parents’ houses to start their professional lives can be physically and emotionally crippling.”
This measure was unanimously passed by the state Assembly in June. Gov. Christie will now consider signing it into law.