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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy announces free college program

Garden State Guarantee initiative would get $50 million in funding if passed

By Nikita Biryukov, February 26 2020 1:17 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy is moving to fund tuition for needy students attending the state’s four-year universities.

On Wednesday, Murphy announced the Garden State Guarantee initiative, which would provide $50 million to cover tuition for the first two years of a student’s time a four-year public university provided the student’s family makes less than $65,000 annually.

“We know students drop out of college – or worse, rule it out as an option for them — because they believe the price tag is unaffordable. After more than a decade of decreased state investments in higher education, our Administration’s innovative plan creates a path for broader college affordability,” Murphy said. “This complementary program underscores New Jersey’s continued commitment to tuition-free community college. We remain laser-focused on retaining in-state talent through our Jobs NJ initiative and expanding opportunities for low-income communities and communities of color.”

Community college students who took advantage of the Community College Opportunity Grant program before transferring to a four-year university could apply under the Garden State Guarantee for the remaining two years needed to obtain their bachelor’s degree.

“This means that students enrolled through the CCOG who transfer to a four-year, public institution could receive their entire four years of education completely free,” Higher Education Secretary Zakiya Smith Ellis said. “The Garden State Guarantee aligns with the goals of our state plan for higher education by sending a clear message to New Jerseyans: you can afford to go to college and earn a degree.”

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