Legislation requiring students to be counseled about dual enrollment opportunities would strengthen the state’s workforce pipeline, according to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA). The bill, S-990 (Cunningham, D-31; Sweeney, D-3), is scheduled for a Senate vote today.
“Dual enrollment allows students to earn college credits while still in high school, thereby reducing the time and cost of obtaining a college degree, said Andrew Musick, NJBIA’s Vice President for Taxation & Economic Development. “Creating more affordable pathways for New Jersey students to earn a college degree is important for students and essential to the state’s long-term economic growth.
“Making college more affordable could also help curb the outmigration of our students to out-of-state colleges and universities,” Musick said. “In order to deliver the highly skilled workforce that is critical to the economy of the future, we need to keep more of our brightest students here in New Jersey.”
Musick noted that approximately 60 percent of New Jersey’s high school seniors who go on to college leave the state to do so.
“This trend does not bode well for our future workforce,” he said.
S-990 would require guidance counselors to meet with students by their second or third year of high school to discuss dual enrollment options, which could reduce the cost and the length of time it takes to earn a college degree. It also requires high school counselors to discuss state and federal tuition assistance programs that may be available.
Under the legislation, the financial literacy component of the high school graduation requirement would require that students receive instruction on state and federal tuition assistance programs, including grants, scholarships and student loans. Issues surrounding student loan debt and loan repayments are to be included as well.