TRENTON – A bill to require educational brochures on college loan repayment schedules to be created and distributed to high school students received final legislative approval on Thursday and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
“Many college-bound students and their families fail to realize how burdensome student loan debt can truly be until they receive their first repayment book after graduation, which often has monthly payments in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union). “Educating students on the ins and outs of the borrowing process before they sign loan documents can help students graduate without being mired in debt.”
The measure (A-1083) would direct the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to create a document that will serve to educate high school students about college loan repayment schedules. The HESAA would be required to post the document on its website and distribute it annually to public and nonpublic high schools. School districts and nonpublic high schools would be required to disseminate the document to high school juniors and seniors annually.
The sponsors said their legislation was especially necessary and timely after an annual report issued in June 2011 by the U.S. Department of Education listed several New Jersey public colleges as among the most expensive in the nation.
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 bill was approved 39-0 by the Senate on Thursday and 78-0 by the Assembly in June.
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