Murphy’s Tuition-Free Community College Proposal Prompts Funding Questions

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Tuition-free community college is a campaign promise that New Jersey’s new governor Phil Murphy is hoping to make happen.

There are questions about where he’ll find the money.

Stella DiFabio is 31, and still paying off student loans. She would have taken advantage of free community college if offered.

“Especially because books are very expensive, so if you have to pay for that on your own plus tuition, you don’t get a lot of money from the state depending on how much your parents make,” she said.

Governor Murphy said he plans to deliver on his campaign promise of free community college.

“As we look out on our horizon, we believe that is something we should jump all over,” he said.

Murphy’s wife Tammy said it could be a work force equalizer, but State Senate GOP leader Tom Kean Jr. said nothing is ever really free.

“Taxpayer impact of this proposal will be significant,” he said.

It’s a $200-million proposal.

“How does the governor figure he’s going to be able to give free college when we are offering now with the high taxes?” Pat Kovacs said.

“Sounds like a great idea. Once again, how are we going to pay for all of this?” Ken Brill asked. “In Westfield, property taxes are through the roof.”

Others said it could elevate society.

“It would be good for the younger crowd trying to get into school and make something of themselves,” Gene DiFabio said.

Kean proposed shoring up current school funding.

“There are ways to make sure loan programs are more efficient and effective, and make sure people graduate on time,” he said.

Murphy has given few details of how the free tuition would be implemented and if it will be included in this year’s budget.

Murphy said he also wants to fully fund schools and the state’s ailing public worker pension fund as well as raise the minimum wage, and restore funding to planned parenthood. All will require more tax dollars.


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