A bipartisan package of bills co-sponsored by Senator Chris Brown (R-Atlantic) to help middle-class families afford college passed the Senate.
Senator Chris Brown with Atlantic Cape Community College President Dr. Barbara Gaba and students from ACC (SenateNJ.com)
“Let’s face it, college has become too expensive for many of our students to attend which is why we must continue to find ways to make college affordable for our middle-class families,” said Brown. “Our children deserve to enter the job market well prepared without crippling debt.”
Among the bills in the package are:
- S-763 would establish the New Jersey HonorScholars Program renaming the NJ STARS and NJ STARS II and broadening eligibility for scholarships while increasing the maximum scholarship award.
- S-762 would require the State Board of Education high school graduation requirements include instruction on tuition assistance programs and student loan debt; requires high school students to meet with guidance counselor to discuss tuition assistance and dual enrollment.
- S-768 would expand the use of open textbooks and commercial digital learning materials to achieve savings for students enrolled in the institution.
- S-769 requires four-year institutions of higher education to offer accelerated baccalaureate degree programs that students can complete in three years. The bill directs each four-year institution to offer a three-year degree option in designated majors that the institution determines are well-suited for an accelerated three-year program.
- S-770 would allow students to elect to use a portion of a tuition aid grant (TAG) award, or an opportunity grant funded through the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), during the summer session following the academic year for courses that fulfill graduation requirements.
“By providing more scholarship opportunities and alternate routes to a four-year degree, more working families will have the opportunity to participate in the American Dream and send their children to college.”