education money

NJ Law Provides Free Community College to Qualified Students

Plus: J&J Vaccine Update

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation today that establishes the Community College Opportunity Grant Program (CCOG), which will allow qualified students to attend any New Jersey community college without tuition or educational fees. 

“For far too long, higher education has been out of reach for countless New Jerseyans due to its high cost. Today’s bill signing underscores our continued commitment to college affordability, ensuring that our young people and working adults have the opportunity to earn post-secondary degrees and advance their promising careers,” the governor said.

CCOG, which will be administered by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), will provide last-dollar grants to eligible county college students for those tuition costs and fees not already covered by any other State, federal, and institutional need-based grants and merit scholarships. 

Students with adjusted gross incomes of $65,000 or less will be eligible to receive this financial grant for a total of five semesters. 

This legislation also directs the Legislature to appropriate funding for the “Student Success Incentive” to the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, for distribution to each county college. This funding will be used to support outreach and student success initiatives to further the goals of the CCOG grant program, according to officials.

For the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, the Governor has proposed $27 million to support the CCOG grant program. 

“New Jersey now sends a clear message: county college is tuition-free for students with family incomes of $65,000 or below,” said David Socolow, executive director, HESAA.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccination Update

Murphy also announced today that the state is currently awaiting the official word from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the status of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) application for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine.

If the application is approved, Murphy said that an initial shipment of approximately 70,000 doses would be delivered next week.

“Needless to say, there will be a lot of meetings and calls this weekend on exactly how to deploy those doses,” Murphy said, adding that an approval of the vaccine would  be a “game changer.”

The J&J vaccine is a single-dose vaccine that requires regular levels of refrigeration.

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