New Jersey Student Loans: Debt Stats, Repayment Programs and Refinancing Loans

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Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.

Checking your rates won’t affect your score.

Check out Laurel Road

New Jersey borrowers carry an average federal and private student loan debt balance of $33,563 — 9% less than the U.S. average of $36,689.

Eligible students can take advantage of the tuition-free New Jersey Community College Opportunity Grant. Separately, the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) may cover up to the cost of tuition for those attending participating schools.

The 2021 fiscal-year budget from Gov. Phil Murphy included a proposal for the Garden State Guarantee program, though it was removed months later amid the coronavirus pandemic. The $50 million program would’ve provided two years of tuition-free education to qualified low-income students at public four-year colleges or universities in New Jersey.

Here’s what else you should know about New Jersey student loans.

New Jersey student loans: Borrowers owe average of $33,563 in federal, private debt — and more facts

Students can attend one of 18 public community colleges in the state, from Camden County College to Atlantic Cape Community College to Essex County College.

There are seven state colleges in New Jersey, including:

  • Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Stockton University
  • Thomas Edison State University

The state is also home to notable public universities, such as Rutgers University, and esteemed private institutions, such as the Ivy League’s Princeton University.

Community college students with a total household adjusted gross income of $65,000 or lower are automatically considered for the Community College Tuition Grant. Students enrolled in a minimum of six credits per semester must submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application — for New Jersey “Dreamers.” This grant isn’t available to students who’ve previously earned a college degree.

Students in approved degree programs who demonstrate financial need can also explore the TAG program. Eligible students must have been a state resident for at least 12 consecutive months and meet other requirements. Those who don’t qualify for these New Jersey tuition grants, however, might need to consider other forms of aid, such as student loans.

Student loan debt in New Jersey’s largest counties, from Bergen to Union

Student loan debt by ZIP code in New Jersey’s 2 largest cities: Newark and Jersey City

Loan repayment programs for New Jersey residents

New Jersey’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) manages loan repayment programs for qualified state residents.

John R. Justice Student Loan Redemption Program

Full-time New Jersey public defenders and prosecutors with eligible federal student loans in good standing can seek repayment support through the John R. Justice Student Loan Redemption Program. Federal government employees aren’t eligible.

After at least three years of public-sector service, a lump-sum payment will be provided to the recipient’s federal student loan lender.

The award amount for 2020-21 is $2,433.78. Borrowers can reapply for an additional year of service after completing the initial contract.

New Jersey STEM Loan Redemption Program

The New Jersey STEM Loan Redemption Program is available to degree-holders who graduated after Dec. 14, 2018, from an in-state college or university, or New Jersey residents who have worked in a STEM field for at least four years.

Up to $2,000 is awarded for each service year, for a maximum of $8,000 over a four-year commitment. The first applications will be accepted in December 2022. Participants don’t need to apply annually, but employer certification is required each year.

Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program

The Nursing Faculty Loan Redemption Program offers student loan support for nursing graduates with:

  • Master’s degrees in nursing
  • Doctorates in nursing, nursing practice, nursing science or another similar field

Participants can serve a maximum commitment of five years. However, New Jersey residents can withdraw at any time. Awards (which can’t exceed $50,000 total) are based on the commitment year:

  • Year 1: $5,000
  • Year 2: $7,000
  • Year 3: $10,000
  • Year 4: $13,000
  • Year 5: $15,000

Borrowers must meet GPA requirements and begin full-time work within a year of earning their graduate degree. Only federal or New Jersey student loans in good standing qualify.

Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program

Primary care health providers who’ll work in underserved areas in the state can consider the Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program. It offers recipients up to $120,000 in student loan repayment for a two- to four-year service commitment.

Eligible borrowers include:

  • Certified nurse midwives
  • Certified nurse practitioners
  • Dentists
  • Physician assistants
  • Physicians

Applicants — who must reside in New Jersey — have to join the program within two years of completing residency or training.

New Jersey federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe more than national average — and more comparisons

How to refinance student loans in New Jersey

More than 7% of New Jersey borrowers owe $100,000 or more in student loans. Refinancing student loans — especially for those with six-figure debt — can help borrowers get debt-free, faster.

The HESAA offers ReFi+ Refinance Loans to borrowers with outstanding NJCLASS Loans, federal parent PLUS loans or private student loans. Interest rates — which range from 4.15% to 6.49% as of Dec. 13, 2020 — on the 10- or 15-year repayment terms depend on various factors, including creditworthiness, income and debt-to-income ratio.

New Jersey borrowers with student loans that don’t qualify might consider refinancing with a private lender. Private refinancing loans are provided by traditional banks and credit unions, as well as online lenders.

Regardless of which refinancing option borrowers pursue, it’s important to note that refinancing federal student loans can be risky. Federal loans offer useful borrower benefits, including:

  • Income-driven repayment plans
  • Loan forgiveness
  • Deferment or forbearance in the event of financial hardship

Borrowers lose access to these protections when they refinance federal loans, though some private lenders offer various forms of deferment or forbearance.


  • U.S. Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
  • Anonymized My LendingTree June 2020 credit reports
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax as of June 2020

Because the latter data is from 2015, researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using statewide data from anonymized credit reports.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2021!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.89% – 5.99%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.99% – 5.64%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.99% – 6.84%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.91% – 5.25%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.25% – 6.53%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.17% – 4.47%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit PenFed

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of Feburary 1, 2021.

2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 10/26/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. ‍All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 02/17/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.91% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: 1. Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.99% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.53% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.12% plus 2.38% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score.Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

6 Important Disclosures for PenFed.

PenFed Disclosures

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.99%-5.15% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.17%-4.47% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.