Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Well That's Big of Them

The state legislature of New Jersey passed a law that says its student loan repayment agency won't go after families to pay back student loans for children who have passed away.

Now, ideally someone would have a life insurance policy on himself or herself to cover discharging debts, especially when the estate consists of not much more than day-old pizza in the mini-fridge and a used copy of The Norton Anthology of American Literature. But college students don't always think ahead like that, so the state's Higher Education Student Assistance Authority -- which is kind of an ironic name considering that their main job is "assisting" students in writing them checks -- has been known to be a little pushy in insisting on payback. And by "a little pushy" i mean requiring a woman to pay back $16,000 on her son's student loans after he was murdered. And suing a cancer patient after refusing to allow him to defer loan payments during treatment.

The new law brings New Jersey more in line with federal student loans, which are generally considered discharged if the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled.

Obviously the law will now prevent abuses such as those listed above. But I guess that the sad thing is it took a law to prevent people from suing a cancer patient and forcing a murdered man's mother to pay his student loans. But bureaucratic pettiness and inflexibility can't be banned with a general regulation, so I guess we'll just go one step at a time.

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