New Jersey launches new student loan program

New Jersey students can now apply for a new program that offers loans to up to 300 college students training for careers in information technology, health care, and more.

Governor Phil Murphy announced the official launch of New Jersey “pay it forward” program Wednesday at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City. The $12.5 million publicly and privately funded program will provide interest-free, cost-free loans — as well as free living allowances and other forms of support — so students can find jobs without the burden of college debt on their shoulders, Murphy said.

“It’s truly a Jersey-designed and a Jersey-built effort,” the governor said Wednesday. “This is an effort that reaffirms our commitment to quality post-secondary education.

Loans will be available for up to 300 students enrolled in registered nursing programs at Hudson County Community College, cybersecurity at New Jersey Institute of Technology, and HVAC and welding at Camden County College. Eligible programs vary from a two-year associate degree to a 10-month online program to nine months of part-time coursework.

Graduates who find jobs where they earn more than $55,000 will repay the cost of their tuition over time. Students will have their loan forgiven after five years if they have made their payments on time and are in good standing.

The money that is refunded will go back into the program, so it acts as a revolving fund for future students.

“Because all graduate loan repayments will be recycled to educate future students, public funds and private donations will expand further to reach more New Jerseyans,” said David Socolow, executive director of Higher Education Student Assistance. Authority.

Students who don’t get a job that pays above the income threshold will owe nothing, said Tracy Palandjian, CEO of Social financethe non-profit association that designs and manages the fund.

“You only pay if you succeed. And even when you pay, you only repay your principal, nothing else,” she said. “The whole program is not based on how many people actually go through the training, but actually…they get great jobs.”

The state has earmarked $7.5 million for the fund, and a coalition of CEOs from companies like Johnson & Johnson, Verizon and Campbell have contributed about $5 million across the state. The Department of Labor and the State Economic Development Authority will guarantee the loans.

In addition to living allowances, students will also receive free mental health counseling services and access to emergency assistance. None of these programs will need to be repaid.

Officials plan to expand the program in the coming months but did not specify to which schools.

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