Garden State Guarantee Initiative to Support New Jersey Students with Two Tuition-Free Years of College

By: Olivia Armstrong, Writer / Follow South Jersey News Reporting Intern

Photo: Michael Mandarino | Follow South Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. — On April 20, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy shared more information about the Garden State Guarantee initiative, which guarantees two years of free tuition at New Jersey’s four-year institutions.

“Since day one, we’ve taken meaningful steps toward addressing college affordability and attainability for students at all income levels,” Gov. Murphy said in a statement. “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.”

Students in families with an annual gross income of $65,000 or fewer can receive tuition-free education for two years at one of New Jersey’s four-year institutions. As part of this initiative, the state will also develop a “sliding scale pricing structure” for students in families that make more than $65,000 per year. Stockton, Rowan, and Kean will all begin administering similar programs to the state’s in the upcoming fall semester.

This initiative will help students in need afford college education in an easier way, and it will become available to students in the fall of 2022. New Jersey will allocate $45 million of its 2022 fiscal year budget to the program, and an additional $5 million will be invested if the participating universities need additional funding.

The Garden State Guarantee initiative is another example of a program that will support New Jersey students gain an education at affordable rates. The state’s Community College Opportunity Grant will allow students in lower-income families to attend two-year universities at no cost to them.

“As a lead sponsor of the Community College Opportunity Grant program that is now law, I am excited and proud to promote the Garden State Guarantee,” Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, said in a statement. “We need to work to make a seamless program so that money is well spent, not repeated or squandered and so that it goes as far as possible to make sure everyone in our state who wants an education can graduate without ten years of debt.”

This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.