New Jersey Council of County Colleges President Aaron Fichtner, Ph.D., issued this statement about the enactment of $54.3 billion state budget that took effect July 1.
“New Jersey’s FY 2024 state budget includes an historic investment in the state’s 18 community colleges and the more than 180,000 students who we serve. New Jersey’s community colleges thank Senate President Scutari, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, and Governor Murphy for their leadership and vision. This budget is a significant step forward in New Jersey’s efforts to remain competitive in a rapidly changing, global knowledge economy while helping more New Jerseyans earn postsecondary degrees and credentials that will enable them to have family sustaining careers.
“New Jersey’s community colleges thank Senator Ruiz, Senator Singleton, Senator Zwicker, Assemblywoman Pintor Marin, Assemblywoman Carter, and the entire Senate and Assembly, for their strong support of community colleges and our students.
“The budget includes an investment of $169 million in operating aid support to the 18 community colleges, an increase of $20 million from FY2023. This investment will enable community colleges to respond to significant increases in the cost of health insurance.
“This investment is equally critical to the ability of our colleges to provide high-quality, affordable education and workforce training to New Jerseyans and to help our students—many from marginalized backgrounds and often the first in their families to attend college—succeed. New Jersey’s community colleges educate more than 4 in 10 of all New Jersey undergraduate students and over half of undergraduate students in public colleges and universities.
“The budget also includes expanded investments that will help New Jersey both build a skilled workforce to propel economic growth and address persistent and troubling economic inequality in our state.
The budget includes an expansion of the Community College Opportunity Grant program that will make college affordable for even more individuals. The budget invests in partnerships that help more high school students be prepared for college and to earn college credits, that assist adults to attend a community college, and that build education and training pathways aligned with the needs of employers.
New Jersey’s community colleges commend Governor Murphy, Senate President Scutari, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, and the entire Senate and Assembly for developing a forward-thinking state budget. New Jersey’s 18 community colleges remain committed to working with the Governor, the state Legislature, and key partners in government, business, education, labor, and the nonprofit community as we work to build a more prosperous, equitable state.
About the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC)
The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) was created in 1989 to coordinate, support and strengthen New Jersey’s 18 community colleges. Community colleges now enroll more than 180,000 people each year in credit, non-credit, and workforce development courses at more than 70 campuses throughout the state.