Assemblyman Joseph Cryan is looking forward to seeing the cornerstone of a 20-bill higher education reform package come before the Assembly Higher Education Committee on Thursday, a measure that would guarantee every new Jersey public college student a nine-semester tuition freeze.
Cryan and Higher Education Committee Chair Celeste Riley unveiled the bill package in March to help address many of the critical factors standing in the way of whether a student successfully completes college and in the most cost-effective manner possible. Among the major areas addressed by the bills are: college readiness, completion rates, cost, data collection, accountability, and pathways to success.
On Thursday, four of the 20 bills will be considered by the committee, including A-2807, which would freeze tuition and fees at the same rate for nine semesters following a student’s initial enrollment at a four-year public or independent institution, potentially saving some students upwards of $10,000 over the course of a six-year degree completion program.
“This Spring we held a series of hearings around the state so we could hear, first hand, from students, parents, administrators and other stakeholders. The biggest obstacle standing in the way of making a college degree attainable these days is affordability and the unpredictability of tuition rates also compounds the problem.
“If students can enter college knowing exactly what a degree will cost them over the life of their program, they can plan wisely and budget better to ensure they can afford it. Instead, more and more students are being subject to sharp, last minute spikes in tuition right before the start of a new school year, forcing them to have to worry about covering the costs when they should be focused on studying instead,” said Cryan (D-Union).
The Assembly Higher Education Committee will meet on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 10:30 a.m. in Committee Room 15 on the 4th floor of the Statehouse Annex in Trenton. In addition to the tuition freeze bill (A-2807), the committee will also consider the following higher education reform bills:
A-2802 – Directs Secretary of Higher Education to establish a communication and incentive plan to encourage re-enrollment in college; requires Statewide reverse transfer agreement;
A-2812 – Requires development of longitudinal data system that maintains individuals’ data from preschool through entry into workforce; and
A-2817 – Requires all school districts and public institutions of higher education to offer dual enrollment programs to provide college-level instruction to high school students and requires these students be charged a reduced tuition rate.