SENATE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 743

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  AUGUST 8, 2016

 

      The Senate Higher Education Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 743.

     This bill directs the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to forgive student loans offered through the New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) Loan Program in the event of a student borrower’s death.

     NJCLASS Loans are awarded by HESAA and may be used by undergraduate and graduate students to pay for school-related expenses including tuition and fees, books, supplies, and room and board.  Under the program, if a borrower dies while the loan is still in repayment, a person who cosigned the loan (such as a parent) will assume responsibility for the debt’s repayment.  Student loans obtained through the federal government are generally discharged in the event of the borrower’s death.

      This bill provides that, in the event of an NJCLASS student borrower’s death, HESAA must fully discharge the obligation of the student borrower and a parent or guardian who cosigned the loan.  Under the bill, the executor or administrator of the student borrower's estate must provide written notification to the authority of the student borrower’s death and must provide the authority with a certified copy of the death certificate within 120 days of the student borrower’s death.

      This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2016-2017 session pending technical review.  As reported, the bill includes the changes required by technical review, which has been performed.