Murphy pushes to expand Community College Opportunity Grant program

Graduation season, the time of year when most students prepare to enter the job market with some newly acquired skills and, unfortunately, a large amount of newly acquired debt. But the Murphy administration has taken this time to go on a “Graduation tour” to highlight the state’s Community College Opportunity Grant Pilot Program, which has made community college tuition-free for thousands of students at county colleges across the state.

The program was recently expanded to cover all 19 county colleges in New Jersey for this spring semester, and the governor is proposing to more than double the budget for next year to cover more students. At a press conference Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy called for a steady source of funding for the program going forward.

“Our long term goal must be to ensure the ability of the community college grant program to support even more middle class students throughout theirs studies. We cant pull the rug out from under them or under their dreams. The most effective way for us to get there is through tax fairness and I want to reiterate this and instituting a true millionaire’s tax. This will most effectively secure the revenues we need to keep investing in the futures of students like Erin and the others here today, the students not just in this room but beyond and countless other residents around the state,” Murphy said.

One of those students, Bergen Community College’s valedictorian Lindsey Njanja spoke about the impact the Community College Opportunity Grant program had on her life.

“I have great aspirations of becoming a doctor and last semester I was wondering how I was going to be able to pay for medical school if I couldn’t be able to finish paying my tuition for the last semester at Bergen,” she said. “But receiving the community college opportunity fund made me very happy and filled me with hope, made me know that I’m going to receive many other opportunities like this and medical school will be definitely possible for me.”