Tag Archives: students

Looking at the Student Debt in New Jersey

By Patty Moore

Americans owe more in student loans than they owe on credit cards. In 2014, Americans owed over $1 trillion dollars in student loans and only $659 billion in credit card debt, and the student debt numbers continue to go up.

This has left graduates with huge amounts of debt. In fact, the Class of 2016 has an average of $27,975 in debt to pay.

New Jersey hasn’t been immune to the student loan crisis. Check out how graduates at some of the state’s schools stack up.

How New Jersey Students Stack Up

New Jersey is right in the middle when it comes to student debt for the Class of 2016. The state ranks 25 among the 50 states with an average debt of $28,233 per student. That’s not as high as the national average, but it is still a cause for concern.

The debt differs greatly from one institution to the next. Students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology carry the most debt of all of the state’s public colleges. The average student debt is $40,967, and the average private student debt is $32,095.

The students at Georgian Court University carry more debt than students at any other private college in the state. They owe an average debt of $40,267. The average private student debt per borrower at this school is $38,910.

Rutgers University-New Brunswick ranks 17 out of 17 for public colleges in New Jersey. The average student debt per borrower is $25,974 and the average private student debt is $14,041.

Princeton University ranks 20 out of 20 for the private colleges. Students in the Class of 2016 have an average debt of $8,908 and an average private student debt of $14,463.

Paying off Student Debt

Those who find themselves saddled with student debt do have options. They can reduce their monthly payments or take measures to pay the debt off faster.

Let’s look at the various options.

Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans allow people to reduce their monthly payments. There are four IDR plans available. Choose from:

  • Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Loans that are in default aren’t eligible for these plans. Also, people who only have Parent PLUS loans cannot apply for IDR plans.


Refinancing is another option. This allows people to take out a new loan with a lower interest rate. The new loan pays off the old loan and the borrower benefits from the lower interest rate. People can find loans that are several points lower in interest, allowing them to save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.


Graduates often think refinancing and consolidation are the same thing, but they aren’t in all cases. Though you can consolidate your loans while refinancing with a private lender, federal student loan consolidation lumps all of the student loans together so the graduate only makes one payment. The interest rate is determined by calculating the weighted average of all of the loans’ interest rates.

Consolidation can lower the monthly payment amount, but it is typically because the terms are extended. That means borrowers pay more in interest over the lifetime of the loan.

Debt Avalanche

Those who want to pay off their loans quickly can use the debt avalanche method. Borrowers order their loans by interest rate. They attack the loan with the highest interest rate first while making the minimum payment on all other loans.

Once the loan with the highest interest rate is paid off, they move on to the next loan. They continue this process until all of the loans are paid in full.

This is the best option for paying off debt quickly, but people who require instant gratification might have some issues with it. It can take a long time to pay off the high interest loans.

Those people might benefit from the debt snowball method.

Debt Snowball

Borrowers begin by ordering their debt from the smallest to the largest. They throw all of their extra money toward the smallest debt, while making the minimum payments on all other debts. They continue up the ladder until all debts are paid off.

They get to celebrate several victories along the way. It’s easy to feel happy each time a debt is paid in full.

New Jersey Residents Have Options

New Jersey residents might feel overwhelmed by their student debt, but they have options. Whether they want to lower their payments or pay down their debt quickly, there are choices available. After they come up with a plan, they can tackle their debt and finally pay everything off.

Cranford High School Fashion Show

#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino stopped by Cranford High School for their 2017 Senior Fashion Show. She spoke to the students, checked out the fashion, and sold copies of her debut novel, Ten Years Later.

Muriel Mason, Senior Class President, tells Latino that all of the night’s dresses have been donated. “Our whole community has been brought together through this night,” Mason says.

Justin Woodwick, a member of the school’s all-male acapella group, tells Latino that the group will be performing an acapella version of Katy Perry’s hit, “Firework.”

With dresses from stores including Lord & Taylor, Ultimate Fashions, and David’s Bridal, the students were dressed to impress.

All proceeds from the night went towards Project Graduation. To learn more about Cranford High School, click here.

Morris County Student-Built Locker Headed to Space

Morris County School of Technology shared-time students taking part in the Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing program at County College of Morris are now NASA affiliates who worked on parts for a stowage locker that will be sent to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX-10. #HipNJ has the scoop!

In celebration of the upcoming delivery of the stowage locker and its planned launch into space, the students were visited by Dr. Florence Gold, HUNCH implementation project manager; Stacy Hale, HUNCH founder; and Blake Ratcliff, HUNCH program manager.

(l-r): Eric Pederson, CCM lab assistant for engineering programs; Tom Roskop, assistant professor, engineering technologies; Blake Ratcliff, Stacy Hale, and Florence Gold of the NASA HUNCH project at CCM.

The students were tasked with fabricating metal sleeves and nuts for a stowage locker for the space station. The locker, scheduled to be sent to the space station this month, will provide a safe and secure housing for hardware required for plant studies.

“The biggest benefit of being a part of this program is that, not only do the students get to apply what they learn in the classroom and see their work come to fruition, they get to be a part of technological history,” said Tom Roskop, assistant professor of engineering technologies at the school, who has been teaching the students and overseeing their work through various stages of machining and finishing.

“Building products for NASA will open up a window of opportunities and help me meet my educational goals,” said Erin Foody of Morris Hills High School.

For more information on the engineering programs at CCM, click here