After a ProPublica and New York Times investigation into New Jersey’s student loan program, Gov. Chris Christie stayed silent. On Monday, he signed a reform bill ending its most onerous practice.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday signed into law a bill requiring the state’s student loan agency to forgive the loans of borrowers who die or become permanently disabled.
Last July, an investigation from ProPublica and The New York Times found that New Jersey’s student loan agency aggressively sought repayment of loans with alreadyonerous terms, even after some of the recipients had died. The efforts had traumatized grieving families, and forced some into financial ruin.
The state loan agency, known formally as the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, is responsible for roughly $1.9 billion in outstanding loans. Christie, who appointed the agency’s top official and has the power to veto any action taken by the agency’s board, would not respond when presented with ProPublica’s findings last summer.
The investigation by ProPublica and the Times, however, did prompt a legislative hearing, and Monday’s action by Christie is the culmination of efforts by state lawmakers to reform the loan agency’s operations.