Christie Signs Bill To Forgive College Loans If Student Dies

TRENTON (AP) -

Gov. Chris Christie on Monday signed legislation allowing certain New Jersey student loans to be forgiven if the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled.

The Republican governor signed the legislation along with 14 other measures at an event in Atlantic City. The measure forgives New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students if the borrower dies, even if a parent or guardian co-signed the loan.

The loan program came under scrutiny after media reports focused on its stringent rules and aggressive collections process, which is much more restrictive than other states.

The program helps cover college costs not already paid for by other grants, scholarships and loans and offers low-cost rates on loans to New Jersey residents attending eligible in-state or out-of-state schools and to out-of-state students attending a New Jersey school.

The Office of Legislative Services estimated that the legislation could cost the state roughly $1.5 million a year over the next three years.