After the death of a child, there is a list of grief-stricken tasks a parent must perform: notifying relatives, planning a burial, canceling credit cards. In the state of New Jersey, the list sometimes also includes continuing to pay student loans.
The latter obligation could soon end. A bill directing the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to forgive NJCLASS student loans in the event of the borrower’s death has passed both houses of the Legislature. It will go to the governor once a tweaked version receives final Senate approval.
The measure was spurred by revelations in a New York Times/ProPublica investigation of HESAA’s borrowing and collection practices, according to Tom Little, legislative director for Assembly members Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling, both D-Monmouth.