Aiming to ease the financial burden of securing a college education, and following a successful pilot during the summer 2023 semester, Assemblywomen Mila Jasey, Linda Carter and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson are sponsoring a measure permanently extending the Tuition Aid Grant program to cover summer sessions (Summer TAG). Today, the Assembly Higher Education Committee unanimously advanced the bill.
“Though not every student chooses to take summer courses, for those that do, the support Summer TAG offers is critical. Whether a student wants to catch up or get ahead, summer courses are a great resource that New Jersey students and their families shouldn’t have to take on more debt to access,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. “Permanent Summer TAG builds on our commitment to make college education more affordable and accessible for our residents. I am proud to see our state investing in programs that create new opportunities for students to earn credits throughout the year, helping them graduate and achieve their goals on their own timelines.”
The bill, A-5578, makes Summer TAG permanent, authorizing the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to award tuition aid grants every summer. Summer 2024 grants are to be funded from the unexpended balance of funds previously awarded for tuition aid grants. Beginning in 2025, the Summer TAG program will be funded by a separate line item in the annual appropriations act.
“This year alone, Summer TAG was instrumental in helping thousands of New Jersey students take classes to achieve their educational goals and advance their careers – without increasing their financial burdens,” said Assemblywoman Linda Carter (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union). “By making this transformative program permanent, we are ensuring that many more students can get the education they need to pursue their dreams.”
Summer TAG awards were issued to more than 11,000 students who enrolled in courses during a pilot program in the summer 2023 semester, giving students the support needed to graduate faster and with less debt.
“Assembly Democrats have long focused on equity and affordability for New Jersey residents and this bill sits at the intersection of both,” said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “I’m pleased to see this vital legislation move forward because I know it will result in students earning their degrees even faster without taking on additional debt.”
Students are eligible for Summer TAG if they are enrolled in six or more credit hours in the summer term at the same institution they were enrolled in during the previous academic year. The courses covered by Summer TAG must be credited towards a student’s graduation or academic major requirements.