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McKnight, Reynolds-Jackson Introduce Bill to Help NJCLASS Student Borrowers after Childbirth or Adoption

Would Defer Loan Repayment for Three Months

Recognizing that childbirth and adoption expenses can be extremely costly, Assemblywomen Angela V. McKnight and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson have introduced legislation that would defer loan repayment for New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) borrowers for a period of 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child.

“Although the birth of a child or adoption should be exciting and filled with joy, it can become a time of worry and uncertainty due to birth-related and other expenses,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “This legislation looks to provide some relief to make the transition of a new addition to the family a little easier.”

The bill (A-4809) provides assistance for eligible NJCLASS Loan Program student borrowers who become a parent or adopt a child. As part of the bill, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority would be required to defer payment of the loan principal and interest for 12 weeks.

“In some instances, there is a gap in income during maternity leave,” said Reynolds-Jackson (D-Hunterdon, Mercer). “While this bill is not proposing the elimination of student loans, it would allow student borrowers to defer payments during a time when their income may become reduced or stretched thin due to childbirth or adoption.”

To be eligible for the loan deferment, a student borrower would be required to provide proof of the child’s birth or adoption within 120 days of the birth or adoption. Deferment would begin on the date such proof was received by the Authority and would end 12 weeks after that date. Interest on the loan would not accrue during the loan deferment.

The legislation was introduced on December 10 and referred to the Assembly Higher Education Committee. It now awaits further consideration from the Assembly.