New NJ Moms Could Get Break From Paying College Loans Back
New Jersey would grant some financial breathing room to certain mothers who just gave birth or adopted a child, under legislation introduced by a pair of lawmakers.
The proposed law allows women to defer their NJCLASS (New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students) loans for 12 weeks following their child's birth or adoption.
"She's getting a reduced salary because she's on maternity leave. So this is one less hurdle that she has to worry about," bill sponsor Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) told the Townsquare News Network.
McKnight said she crafted the bill after a constituent — a new mother who recently returned to work from maternity leave — approached her in City Hall with her concerns.
In order to be eligible for the 12-week deferment, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority would need to receive proof of the birth or adoption within 120 days of its occurrence. The deferment would begin on the day the proof was received. Interest on the loan would not accrue during the following 12 weeks.
"While this bill is not proposing the elimination of student loans, it would allow student borrowers to defer payments during a time when their income may be reduced or stretched thin due to childbirth or adoption," said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer).
The legislation has been referred to the Assembly Higher Education Committee.