Phil Murphy
Higher Ed

Murphy Announces $50 Million Investment in College Affordability

In what is the largest state investment in college affordability in more than a decade, today at William Paterson University, Gov. Phil Murphy, alongside Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, formally announced the “Garden State Guarantee” – a $50 million investment in public, four-year senior public colleges and universities through his proposed FY2021 budget.

The program is the first of its kind in the United States, and would allow all eligible New Jersey undergraduate students to attend any public college or university in the state tuition-free for two years.

“Under [Secretary Smith Ellis’] leadership, we began this journey with the Community College Opportunity Grant Program (CCOG), which has been a resounding success,” Murphy said.

The CCOG affords New Jersey students enrolled in any of the state’s 18 county colleges to receive their education tuition free if they meet various eligibility requirements.

“It occurred to [us] that this is an extraordinary program that has been incredibly successful, so why not apply it to four year institutions?” Murphy said.

Under the Garden State Guarantee, 13 campuses of the state’s four-year public institutions will receive increased direct operating aid to assist low-income and underrepresented students of color. Students with adjusted gross incomes of $65,000 or less would be guaranteed tuition- and fee-free prices for their first two years of study at the institution.

Murphy said the program will begin for students in the fall semester of 2021.

He also added that students who have benefitted from the CCOG would have the chance to benefit from the Garden State Guarantee as well.

“This means that students enrolled through the CCOG who transfer to a four-year, public institution could receive their entire four years of education completely free,” Secretary Smith Ellis said.

Additionally, each institution would develop a sliding scale pricing structure for students above the $65,000 income threshold. A transparent, locked-in tuition price would be provided for all students throughout the duration of their academic program.

“This initiative will enable thousands of young men and women, who would have found finances a significant obstacle, to attend a New Jersey college or university,” commented Joel S. Bloom, president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).  “The ROI on this investment for the students, families and the future workforce for our state is critical.”

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: