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Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Committee Clears Kean Bill that Would Examine State Funding for Higher Education

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Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean that would help ensure predictable state funding for New Jersey’s higher education institutions was advanced by the Senate Higher Education Committee.

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Tom Kean that would help ensure predictable state funding for New Jersey’s higher education institutions was advanced by the Senate Higher Education Committee. (SenateNJ.com)

“The dramatic increase in higher education tuition each year is making college less affordable and less attainable for so many New Jersey families,” said Kean (R-21). “One of the most obvious reasons for this increase is because New Jersey has consistently underfunded colleges and universities which has led to a large-scale affordably crisis. My legislation will create a commission to address this systemic problem by analyzing the available data from our state, as well as other states, and determine how we can more efficiently fund our higher education system.”

According to data from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, full time in-state tuition and fees at New Jersey’s public four-year institutions of higher education increased by 27.8% from 2009 to 2018.

In-state students paid an average tuition of $14,956 at New Jersey’s four-year public colleges this year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That’s approximately 40% higher than the average of $10,440 that the College Board said students paid nationwide in the 2019-2020 school year.

Kean’s bill, S-1230, establishes the “New Jersey Higher Education Funding Formula Commission” to examine the funding formulas of other states, review the funding needs of New Jersey colleges and universities as well as medical, law, and graduate schools, and develop a funding formula and recommendations, including legislation, for implementation.

“If we had a formula in place for higher education college funding, there’s a much better chance that our public institutions would get more of the annual state support they need to help prevent tuition increases,” added Kean. “With a formula in place, the default would be them getting the money they need, unlike today. Lawmakers and the governor would have to make a conscious decision to not fund the formula in any given year. ”

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