***MULTIMEDIA PACKAGE*** Sweeney & Riley News Conference on ‘Pay Forward, Pay Back’ Alternative College Funding Program Legislation

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(TRENTON) — Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Higher Education Chair Celeste M. Riley (both D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) issued a multimedia package Monday of a news conference they held to discuss their “Pay Forward, Pay Back” alternative college funding legislation.

The pending legislation would create a seven-member commission to study the feasibility of creating a “pay forward, pay back” college funding program in New Jersey. This type of program would essentially cover the up-front costs of a college education at public institutions of higher education and, upon graduation, would require the students to pay a percentage of their income over a certain number of years to pay back their accrued tuition costs.

The sponsors believe examining this sort of payment program will help start a conversation on how we can alleviate the number of New Jersey college students accruing tens of thousands of dollars in interest bearing loan debt just to receive a college education, or in some cases, put off going to school altogether.

To underscore the seriousness of the college affordability and indebtedness problem, two college-age students struggling with the financial burden of college — Emily Kerr, of Maple Shade, and Maria Asiz, of Edison — were present to share their first-hand accounts of struggling to afford the cost of higher education.

The multimedia package consists of a video of Senate President Sweeney, Assemblywoman Riley and their student guests discussing the issue of college affordability and indebtedness and the need for looking into “pay forward, pay back” funding programs and audio of same.

The video can be accessed directly via the General Assembly website — www.assemblydems.com — or by clicking here.

The audio file is available upon request.