NEW JERSEY – Furthering his commitment to address college affordability for students, Governor Phil Murphy recently held a roundtable discussion with college students, elected officials, and university presidents to highlight the $50 million investment in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) budget proposal toward the Garden State Guarantee initiative (GSG).
“Since day one, we’ve taken meaningful steps toward addressing college affordability and attainability for students at all income levels,” Murphy said. “With the Garden State Guarantee initiative, we’re making another critical investment to ensure that every student has access to an affordable, high-quality postsecondary education, which in return will create a highly skilled workforce and a stronger, fairer, and more resilient economy.”
“The Garden State Guarantee is our commitment to ensuring New Jerseyans are well-positioned for success, particularly students of color, low-income families, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who have traditionally not been afforded equal access to higher education,” said Dr. Brian Bridges, Secretary of Higher Education. “We owe it to our students to provide free college benefits that will improve their social mobility and our state’s overall financial health as we build long-term economic resiliency.”
The historic investment in the GSG initiative builds upon the success of the Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG), by ensuring that eligible students can receive a tuition-free education for their first two years at any public college or university in New Jersey. Under the GSG initiative, students with an annual gross income of $65,000 or less will have the opportunity to receive tuition- and fee-free education for two years of study at one of New Jersey’s four-year public institutions.
The FY2022 budget proposal allocates $45 million for the GSG initiative, which will increase direct aid to all 13 state colleges and universities through the Outcomes-Based Allocation and another $5 million will be available if additional funding is necessary for program implementation. Public institutions implementing GSG will also support eligible students by developing a sliding scale pricing structure for students above $65,000 annual gross income and create a guaranteed pricing structure for all students throughout their academic program. This initiative will be available for students starting in fall 2022.
Currently, similar initiatives are offered at four of our 13 public four-year institutions: Rutgers-Camden, Rutgers-Newark, William Paterson University, and New Jersey City University. Three other public institutions, Stockton University, Rowan University, and Kean University, recently announced similar programs that will begin in the fall of 2021.