Gov. Phil Murphy outlined his goals to make college more affordable Wednesday at a roundtable discussion at New Jersey City University in Jersey City.
Murphy has proposed a 2019 budget containing an additional $8.5 million to expand Tuition Aid Grants and the Educational Opportunity Fund. This is part of his overall proposed fiscal year 2019 TAG funding of $432.9 million.
Murphy projects to aid more than 67,500 students, which would be an increase of nearly 3,500 TAG awards over the current year.
“Our goal is to keep a college degree within reach for working families and those who come from economically disadvantaged areas,” the governor said. “These investments will ensure that students can continue to realize their dreams because no one should be deprived from getting an education based on where they’re from, or their background, or current economic status or their abilities. This is a matter of fairness that will lead to a stronger future for our students and for New Jersey.”
His proposed fiscal year 2019 budget allocates $2.4 billion in total appropriations for higher education, including funding for facilities and capital. It represents an overall increase of $69.9 million over last year’s budget.
Acting Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis said Murphy’s proposed increase in funding will assist students in need at New Jersey community colleges and four-year colleges. New Jersey is known for having one of the best-funded financial aid programs, Ellis said.
To fund his proposal, Murphy said he is confident in his ability to work with the New Jersey Legislature to approve his budget.
“I am confident we will find common ground with the legislature,” Murphy said. “The wealthiest of us have had a very good ride for eight years. This is not tax warfare; it is tax equity. … It is closing egregious hedge fund loopholes. … This is undoing damage and setting forth a vision on how we will get there.”