Public and independent colleges and universities must provide a financial aid “shopping sheet” each year to every enrolled student, to itemize information on costs, loan options and estimated debt.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 1877, geared to increase transparency in higher education, on Sept.16.
“Given the exorbitant costs associated with pursuing a post-secondary education these days, we need to make certain that our students are aware of their financial aid status throughout college, not just when they are entering college,” said state Sen. Nellie Pou, D-35th District. “A lot can happen over the course of four years, and they should be aware of any changes that may affect them financially. This law will enable college students to stay informed of their aid status and help them better prepare to pay off any existing debt upon graduation.”
The shopping sheet was previously required to be provided for incoming students as part of the Murphy Administration’s college affordability and transparency initiatives. The new law expands the reach of the price transparency tool.
“Many students every year face the difficulties with navigating college loans and debt,” said Assemblymembers Robert Karabinchak, D-18th District, and Mila Jasey, D-27th District, in a joint statement. “The costs of college life can be tricky to monitor and the financial ‘shopping sheet’ will go a long way toward helping students mitigate their debt. This law will significantly help thousands of students and families familiarize themselves with unanticipated charges and allow them to create a plan for future expenses.”
According to data from The Institute for College Access and Success collected in 2018 and 2019, 64% of New Jersey college graduates had student loan debt. New Jersey has the seventh-highest average student debt nationally at $33,566.
TICAS reported that 30% of New Jersey college graduates’ student loan debt was private, nonfederal debt, which is often costlier and carries fewer consumer protections than federal debt.