Students Pleas Come on the Heels of Recent Tuition Freeze Proposal Lawmakers Introduced as Part of 20-Bill Higher Ed Reform Package
(TRENTON) — New Jersey Assembly Democrats Celeste Riley and Joseph Cryan on Wednesday joined with Rutgers University students in supporting their call for a tuition freeze to help make college more affordable amidst ever-escalating costs.
The lawmakers recently unveiled a comprehensive 20-bill package to address many of the critical factors standing in the way of whether a student successfully completes college in the most cost-effective manner possible and cited tuition stability as a major concern.
Chief among their reform proposals is a bill (A-2807) that 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.
“Essentially our bill recognizes that no one should have to beg for a freeze and instead incorporates it into a long-term financial plan,” said Cryan (D-Union). “Using Rutgers, for example, last year the Board approved a 3.3 percent hike in tuition in mid-July. Students enrolled for the fall semester then had less than two months to figure out how they were going to accommodate that increase.”
“Many of the students who attended the Board of Governors meeting noted that they’re either working full-time while going to school or have been forced to take semesters off to work and save additional money to afford tuition,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem), Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. “We need to do more to not only make college affordable again, but also to help students plan accordingly so they’re not hit out of the blue with these increases that might derail their education.”
Riley and Cryan are hoping to begin holding hearings on their higher education reform package in the next month or so.