The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) a New Jersey State chartered-loan program, charged with providing student loan financing programs. It has been criticized for remarkably cruel, inflexible terms and zealous collection practices, and, has been likened to “loan-sharking”. Also, acceptable circumstances for a loan-repayment reprieve are rare. This includes not forgiving student loans when the debtor dies.
Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA)
The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority has the responsibility of administering the state based student loan program. It is the largest in the United States by a significant proportion. Current student loans outstanding amount to $1.9 billion. It is believed that its remarkably inflexible policies “can easily lead to financial ruin.”
Repayments are not based on income adjustment. Unemployment and other financial hardships rarely result in reprieves. Interest rates are higher than comparable federal programs.
The State of New Jersey is permitted to garnish wages, rescind professional licenses, disallow income tax refunds, and forfeit borrower’s lottery winnings. Court approval is not required. Collection practices have become more aggressive since 2010. Notably, families’ credit has been damaged while being compelled to surrender their salaries due to agency regulations.
The catalyst appears to be, “the state depends on Wall Street investors to finance student loans through tax-exempt bonds and needs to satisfy those investors by keeping losses to a minimum.” The programs collection practices have been described as having within their toolkit “a cudgel that even the most predatory for-profit players cannot wield” and that is “the power of the state”.
New Jersey Governor’s Office
The Governor of New Jersey appoints the executive director of the program. The current Governor, Chris Christie, has stated that the agency’s policies and collection behaviors are not within his purview. Also, the appointment of 12 of the 18 board members of this organization is within the discretion of the Governor’s office.
- ^See external links to access this reference.
- ^ Jump up to:ab c d Waldman, Annie (3 July 2016), “In New Jersey Student Loan Program, Even Death May Not Bring a Reprieve”, New York Times, retrieved 3 July 2016
- ^ Jump up to:ab c “New Jersey’s Student Loan Program is ‘State-Sanctioned Loan-Sharking'”. Pro PUblica. 3 July 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- ^ Jump up to:ab Lewis, Daniel; Floyd, Jami WNYC All Things Considered podcast (5 July 2016). “New Jersey Student Loan Program Persists Even in Death”. WNYC News website. New York City. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- ^Nuegebauer, Cim (5 July 2016). “Not even being murdered will get you loan forgiveness with student loans in New Jersey”. KUTV.com. Salt Lake City, Utah: Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved 8 July 2016.