Sticker shock for a college education?

New Jersey lawmakers and officials agree that should never be an issue for students and families.

Starting in 2022, public and private colleges and universities in the Garden State will be required to provide all students, on a yearly basis, with a "shopping sheet" that includes a personal breakdown of costs, financial help, loans, and estimated debt.

Higher education institutions are already required to provide this information to prospective students. A law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Sept. 16 expands the tool to include current students — it goes into effect "in the first full academic year following enactment."

"This level of transparency on what it costs to put our young adults through college is so, so important," said Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, D-Middlesex, a sponsor of the measure that became law.

“Families will receive clear and comprehensible information to assess costs, loan options and estimated debt to inform their decisions on a postsecondary pathway that best suits their individual circumstances," said Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges.

The bill tasks the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education with prescribing a model format for the shopping sheet. Beyond specific info for each student, a school's sheet needs to note the percentage of students from the institution who've defaulted on their loans.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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