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Sumter, Jasey, Muoio, Lagana, Downey & Benson HESAA Transparency Measure Now Law

Law Aimed at Better Protecting Families Planning for College from Taking on Unmanageable Student Loan Debt

Legislation Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Mila Jasey, Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Joseph Lagana, Joann Downey and Daniel Benson sponsored to combat student loan debt in New Jersey is now law.

“The only concern a college student should have after graduating is choosing which job will lead them closer to their goals,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “It has become the norm for families and students to take on an overwhelming amount of debt to pursue educational goals. This new law will increase transparency under NJCLASS loan programs, better educate families on loan repayment options and requirements and help families understand how much they can realistically handle in student loans.”

“Furthering your education is necessary to advance a career,” Jasey (D-Essex/Morris), chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. “It should never be a burden to do so, and it should be encouraged without fear of debt. This is a step toward helping families struggling to send their children to college without saddling them with cumbersome loan debt.”

The new law (A-4238) requires the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to provide an annual report on the New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) program to the governor and the legislature. The law also directs HESAA to develop a student loan comparison information document to allow borrowers to compare an NJCLASS loan with loans available under the federal student loan programs and provide examples of loan repayment under the NJCLASS program.

“The college experience should be one focused on learning, not overshadowed by mounting loans students must pay back upon graduation,” said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “This law requires the state to be as transparent as possible about student loan options. This is the first step to helping families avoid burdening themselves with debt.”

“College loan debt should not follow you throughout your adult life,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Targeted measures to educate incoming college students on managing loan debt are necessary to helping students make informed choices. It’s time to end this cycle of loading students up with debt that too often takes a lifetime to pay back.”

“The amount of loan debt a college student graduates with can have an enormous impact on how long it takes them to become fully self-sufficient as an adult,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “They need to know their options and have the best rates available to them to minimize this burden.”

“We want students to graduate and be able to shoot for their dreams without being hampered by years of loan repayments that hinder their productivity,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “These changes will make the state’s higher education authority a stronger advocate for our students.”

The measure received unanimous approval from the legislature before being signed into law by the governor.