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Student Loan Debt – Raising Awareness In Jersey

With more and more high school grads – and their families – taking out student loans to pay for college these days, an Assembly Committee has released a measure that would require educational brochures on college loan repayment schedules to be created and distributed to high school students.

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“Many college-bound students and their families fail to realize how burdensome student loan debt can truly be” says Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, one of the prime sponsors of the bill, “until they receive their first repayment book after graduation, which often has monthly payments in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars – providing critical education before they sign loan documents can help students graduate without being mired in debt.”

The legislation would direct the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to create a document that will serve to educate high school students about college loan repayment schedules. The Authority would be required to post the document on its website and distribute it annually to public and nonpublic high schools.

The document would include examples of monthly and annual loan payments required for various types of student loans based on differing principal loan amounts and current interest rates, the time period it would take to fully repay those loans based on various monthly or annual payment installments, definitions of fixed rate loans, variable rate loans, and consolidation loans, and the consequences of defaulting on a student loan.

The sponsors of the measure point out this is especially necessary and timely after an annual report issued  a year ago by the U.S. Department of Education listed several New Jersey public colleges as among the most expensive in the nation. 

The legislation was approved by the Assembly Higher Education Committee, and now heads to the full Lower House for consideration.

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