TRENTON (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Phil Murphy provided greater detail about his plan to make community colleges tuition free in New Jersey.
The proposal would cost $50 million in FY 2019 budget, which is just the first year of a phase-in of the the program.
“We can’t do it overnight, because it’s not free,” Murphy said. “We believe we can get there in a short number years, particularly, in the course of three years.”
Most of the $50 million initial investment comes in the form of Community College Opportunity Grants. A total of $45 million will be “last dollar” grants to cover any community college tuition fee not paid for by various grants or funding sources determined by the The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. The grants will be limited to those whose average family income is below $45,000. An estimated 15,000 students will be able to attend community college tuition free starting in January of 2019, officials said.
The remaining $5 million would be in the form of planning grants.
“For too long, the goal of attending college and getting a good job has been out of reach for many of our state’s young people and families,” Murphy said. “All too often, those that do attend are saddled with debt that affects their ability to prosper after graduation, or prospective students leave the state to pursue a less expensive education elsewhere. This plan will help make college a reality for many in our state, a change that will help our best and brightest stay in New Jersey, get a good education, and continue to contribute to our economic future.”