The chief administrator of New Jersey’s student loan program is set to appear before two state Senate committees to answer for the unfair treatment of borrowers and their families.

Source: New York Times

Last month, the story of Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti was told by The New York Times. In short, the grieving mother dealing with her son’s unsolved murder was told that the loans she co-signed for her son to attend college would not be forgiven. This wasn’t the only story told in The New York Times and an investigation by ProPublica will tell you there are even more incidents where the New Jersey loans are part of a very strict program.

Last Monday, the chief administrator of New Jersey’s student loan program is set to appear before two state Senate committees to answer for the unfair treatment of borrowers and their families. Students and advocate groups are expected to show up at the hearing. Gabrielle Charette, executive director of the state’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, will have a joint hearing with Senate Higher Education Committee and Senate Legislative Committee in Trenton.

These hearings are a direct result of the investigation by ProPublica report published by The New York Times.  Among some of the atrocities found in the investigation are:

  • Incriminating internal emails – The officials at the New Jersey loan agency were told not to inform families about the programs that forgive the loans of dead students. Unless, of course, a relative asks specifically about the agency’s policy. One of the emails that were published by ProPublica stated, “We should not be volunteering this information.”
  • Loan shark-like collection tactics – New Jersey’s loan program filed more than 1,600 lawsuits against borrowers last year in an effort to collect past due loans. Much of the cases went to collection agencies, that added 30% on to those overdue payments.
  • No loan forgiveness for dead students – DeOliveira-Longinetti was told by the federal government that her loans were forgiven after the death of her son. New Jersey, however, claimed she was still on the hook for paying these loans.

Senator Bob Gordon, chair of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee said, “The state should be supporting students and young workers, in particular, not putting up additional barriers to their future success. I look forward to hearing from all of the parties involved,” the lawmakers added that they will use the hearing to possibly restructure the state’s higher education loans system.