Making in-state college more affordable is a key component to reducing New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation millennial outmigration rate, and four bills scheduled for a vote in the Senate Feb. 1 will help do just that, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) said today.
“A college education is one of the critical components for the state economy, particularly in helping New Jersey maintain its competitive edge in having a highly educated workforce,” said NJBIA Vice President Andrew Musick. “But the cost of a higher education and the debt students assume to pay for it is holding a lot of them back.”
The bills passed shortly after NJBIA released a report on millennial outmigration that recommended making college and post-secondary education more affordable, among other things.
“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 said. “That’s the goal of these bills. NJBIA thanks all the sponsors for their hard work on these initiatives.”
The four bills in the Senate are:
- S-762 (Cunningham, D-31; Sweeney, D-3; Singer, R-30 ), which would require high school graduation requirements to include instruction on tuition assistance programs and student loan debt, and require high school students to meet with their guidance counselor to discuss tuition assistance and dual enrollment;
- S-770 (Cunningham, D-31; Sweeney, D-3; Kean, R-21), which would allow students to use tuition assistance grant awards during summer session;
- S-869 (Sweeney, D-3; Cunningham, D-31; Oroho, R-24), which would permit three-plus-one degree programs, where students go to county college for three years and a four-year institution for their senior year; and
- S-1136 (Gill, D-34), which would provide a tax deduction for taxpayers who make student loan payments, allowing the same deduction from state gross income tax as the federal government does for federal income taxes.
The bills stem from recommendations of the New Jersey College Affordability Study Commission in 2016.