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Riley, Wisniewski, Benson & Lampitt Bill to Create Commission to Study, Recommend Ways to Make College more Affordable in NJ Heads to the Governor's Desk
(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Higher Education Chair Celeste Riley, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Assemblyman Dan Benson and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt to create a task force charged with studying different ways to help make college more affordable for New Jersey students received final legislative approval Thursday and now heads to the governor's desk.
"Too many students are being forced to choose between taking on overwhelming amounts of debt to pay for a degree and not going to college," said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). "A college education should not be a luxury. Providing students with options that could help lessen the financial hardship could mean the difference between putting off college and getting that degree."
"Rising tuition costs are placing unbearable financial burdens on New Jersey college students and families," said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). "This has the potential to open doors for students who otherwise could not afford a college education. Making higher education more affordable not only helps these students, but the state which would benefit from a well-educated workforce."
"It is a terrible tragedy when our best and brightest cannot further their education due to the rising cost of college tuition," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "We must examine all avenues to make higher education in New Jersey more affordable and accessible to our students."
"We lose many of our high school graduates to colleges and universities in other states. This migration hurts our schools and it hurts us as a state since many of these students will take jobs and settle in these states," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "Making our schools more affordable can help us better compete, and keep students who after graduation will help contribute to our economy."
The bill (A-4444) establishes a College Affordability Study Commission for the purpose of examining issues and developing recommendations to increase the affordability of higher education in New Jersey. The commission would consist of 10 members, including the Secretary of Higher Education, or a designee, the executive director of the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, or a designee, and eight members appointed by the Governor as follows: the president of a public research university or a designee; the president of a state college or university or a designee; the president of a county college or a designee; one member of the faculty of a public institution of higher education in the state, appointed upon the joint recommendation of the American Association of University Professors, the New Jersey Education Association and AFT New Jersey; one student who is enrolled in a public institution of higher education in the state; one public member appointed upon the recommendation of the Senate President; one public member appointed upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the General Assembly; and one public member appointed upon the joint recommendation of the Minority Leaders of the Senate and the General Assembly.
The commission will be charged with studying issues related to increasing the affordability of higher education in the state, including:
The bill was approved 38-0 by the Senate last month, and 80-0 by the Assembly on Thursday.
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