Gill Measure To Establish Loan Forgiveness Program For Teachers Clears Education Committee

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill (D-Essex) to establish a loan redemption program under which teachers could have a portion of their undergraduate loans forgiven by the state in exchange for work at a public school in New Jersey was approved today by the Senate Education Committee.

“Tasked with the responsibility of preparing the next generation of scientists, nurses and community leaders of our state, teachers have what is arguably the most important job there is,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex). “We have to do everything we possibly can to ensure that teachers who are educated in New Jersey are able to remain in New Jersey once they finish their education. A loan forgiveness program will serve as an incentive for our best and brightest to stay here after college and to choose a New Jersey school to start their careers.”

The measure is part of the Jobs Package recently unveiled in the Senate by Senate President Steve Sweeney, which is aimed at creating jobs and stimulating economic growth in the state. The bill (S-1419) would create the New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) Teacher Loan Redemption Program in the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. The program would allow loan recipients to redeem 10 percent of their NJCLASS loan amounts for each year of service as a teacher in a public school in New Jersey.

“Teaching is an admirable, yet often times thankless, profession,” added Senator Gill. “This loan redemption program will demonstrate to educators that we recognize the contributions they make to this state, and that we want to help them remain here once they finish their education by helping to ease the debt load that too many of our students are forced to take on after college.“

Under the bill, in order to participate in the loan redemption program, a person must have been an undergraduate student borrower in the NJCLASS Loan Program. A participant must also be a resident of the State and a certified teacher who obtained initial employment in a public school after the effective date of the bill.

The measure was approved by a vote of 5-0.