Making N.J. college tuition affordable: Radical idea gains traction in Trenton

Lauren Williams's picture

A bill to explore radically restructuring how students pay for college was easily approved by a state Senate panel today.

And shortly after its approval, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) announced that he plans to expand the bill to deal more broadly with what he called a “college affordability crisis.”

The Senate Higher Education Committee voted 5-0 to approve the measure (S2965), which would create a commission to study whether to enact a pilot program on what’s called “Pay Forward, Pay Back.” Under the program, students at the state's public colleges and universities would not pay tuition while attending school in exchange for a percentage of their future incomes for a set number of years.

“I think it’s very good in lieu of what we read about student debt, about young people not actually graduating college and the need for us to educate as many of our young people as possible,” said state Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson), who chairs the committee.

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