But when asked to produce the annual default rates, the agency sent Pro Publica and the Times data only for students with strong credit scores, making it impossible to calculate the overall rate.
(Read their responses to our questions.) A spokesman for Gov.
Amid a haze of grief after her son’s murder last year, Marcia De Oliveira-Longinetti faced an endless list of tasks — helping the police access Kevin’s phone and email, canceling his subscriptions, credit cards and bank accounts, and arranging his burial in New Jersey. When De Oliveira-Longinetti called about his federal loans, an administrator offered condolences and assured her the remaining balance would be written off.
But she got a far different response from a New Jersey state agency that had also lent her son money.
Besides administering the loan program, the authority provides financial aid counseling, conducting hundreds of financial aid nights at New Jersey high schools, where it offers advice about paying for college, including pitching its own loans.
De Oliveira-Longinetti, who emigrated from Brazil and had long worked as a nanny while raising her son as a single mother, always knew that paying for college would be a challenge.
Monthly bill statements will continue to be sent to you.” De Oliveira-Longinetti was shocked and confused.
After all, the agency features a photo of Governor Chris Christie on its website, and boasts in its brochures that its “singular focus has always been to benefit the students we serve.” But her experience with the authority, which runs by far the largest state-based student loan program in the country, is hardly an isolated one, an investigation by Pro Publica, in collaboration with the New York Times, found.
They come with extraordinarily stringent rules that can easily lead to financial ruin.
That same year, New Jersey’s agency was caught in what amounted to a kickback scheme.
The state attorney general found that the agency had improperly pushed one company’s loans in exchange for annual payments of .2 million.
One reason for the aggressive tactics is that the state depends on Wall Street investors to finance student loans through tax-exempt bonds and needs to satisfy those investors by keeping losses to a minimum.
Loan revenues also cover about half of the agency’s administrative budget.