(TRENTON) — Assembly Higher Education Committee Chairwoman Celeste M. Riley (D-Cumberland) and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union) issued a multimedia package Thursday outlining their 20-bill higher education reform package, following the conclusion of a series of public hearings on the legislation.
The comprehensive bill package would 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.
A copy of the bill package, as introduced, can be viewed here.
The multimedia package consists of a video of the sponsors explaining the bill package and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from the sponsors is appended below
Assemblywoman Celeste M. Riley (D-Cumberland), Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair:
“What the initiative does is address the issues that are happening in the State of New Jersey in our institutions of higher education. These are what we would consider our best practices, these bills that we are putting forward.”
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union):
“We wanted to paint an opportunity, or provide an opportunity, for New Jersey students to have more affordability in their opportunities for higher education; a better chance at achievement of an actual graduation and a diploma, for that; and an opportunity also for institutions, through tracking and mechanisms, to reduce costs and provide better outcomes for their students.”
“The students coming from high school are not ready for college level work and so they still have to remediate at the college level. That’s expensive, it’s time consuming. And then when you’re into college, we’re looking at making sure that you have college success: you complete college in a timely and cost efficient way. We want to prevent credit creep, so that we can keep your costs down.”
“In New Jersey over the past six years, tuition and fees have increased cost over 20 percent.”
“It is in your best interest to complete your degree within four years, if it is obtainable. And so, we’re going to try to make sure that you do it. It’s not only good for you financially, it’s good for us as a state.”
“There is cost associated with the package, between the 20 bills and there’ll be more cost fleshed out as we go. We have identified accounts that have lapsed that more than fund this opportunity, so we think that there’s not only a funding mechanism, where it’s revenue neutral, we also like the idea of… it also forces institutions to budget longer term and we think that’s good public policy, not only for students but for institutions and the Legislature as well.”
“That’s where the impetus of this package is. We’re looking for you to be successful so that you come out and you can be part of our workforce, which makes the State of New Jersey more successful. But we don’t want you burdened with financial debt — unnecessary financial debt — that you can’t pay off when you get out. And so, these are the concerns behind this package.”