Let’s Stop Student Debt Traps

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New Jersey’s racial wealth gap is one of the widest in the country, causing vast disparities in the need for financial aid to fund higher education. That means many students of color graduate saddled in student loan debt and may not have adequate training for jobs that would help them pay it back.

This is an unacceptable vicious cycle, and is not a formula for New Jerseyans to move forward and thrive.

We can’t begin to solve this problem until we have transparency and accountability on student loan and employment outcomes in our state.

The Institute and New Jersey Citizen Action are partnering to push two bills pending in the New Jersey Legislature that will provide just that.

  • A5391/S2026 would require state agencies to collect data from post-secondary schools on students’ debt and income that could be used to establish state-wide “gainful employment” standards that would hold schools accountable for ensuring students are not overburdened with debt compared to future earnings potential.
  • A5380/S3683 would require colleges and universities to provide targeted data on student loan outcomes broken down by race, ethnicity, age, income, gender and first-generation status that would help identify where reforms are needed to protect students and borrowers of color.

We need these bills to be heard in the Assembly Higher Education Committee and for all elected officials to support them. Take action here to send that message to legislators.

It’s time to hold our schools accountable for providing opportunity, not burden, to our students.

For more background on this important issue, see our Freed From Debt report.

Thank you as always for standing with us. You can find more opportunities to take action here and you can donate to our work here.

Onward!

Laura Sullivan

Director of Economic Justice Program, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice