Kean Bill that Would Stabilize State Funding for Higher Education Clears Senate

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean that would help ensure predictable state funding for New Jersey’s higher education institutions earned Senate approval today.

The Senate approved Sen. Tom Kean’s bill that would help ensure predictable state funding for New Jersey’s higher education institutions. (SenateNJ.com)

“The dramatic increase in higher education tuition each year is making college and post-graduate education less affordable and less attainable for so many New Jersey families,” said Kean (R-21). “New Jersey has consistently underfunded colleges and universities, leading to a troubling affordability crisis. This 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.”

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 and medical, law, and graduate schools, and develop a funding formula and recommendations, including legislation, for implementation.

“With a formula for higher education college funding, there’s a much better chance our public institutions would receive more of the annual state support they need to help prevent tuition increases,” Kean said. “The formula would indicate how much money schools should get, and lawmakers and the governor would have to make a conscious decision to shortchange institutions in any given year. The more reliable process will help keep tuition costs under control.”

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.

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