The New Jersey Business & Industry Association today applauded passage of college affordability legislation that would reduce the cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree by allowing students to complete three years of study at a county college followed by one year at a partnering four-year college or university.
The legislation, A-1890/S-869 (Jimenez/Sweeney, Cunningham) permits a “3-Plus-1” bachelor’s degree program. The bill passed the Legislature yesterday and is awaiting action by Gov. Phil Murphy.
“This bill is designed to make higher education more affordable in New Jersey,” said NJBIA Vice President Andrew Musick. “High costs are one of the reasons New Jersey has the largest net loss of college-age students in the nation, and this legislation seeks to help reverse that.”
The legislation would allow a four-year college or university to partner with a county college to establish a 3-Plus-1 degree program. Students would complete three academic years at the county college, and then transfer to the partnering four-year institution for their senior year and complete their degree at that institution’s tuition rate.
The bill requires that courses offered to third-year students at county colleges under the “3-Plus-1” program be taught by tenured faculty and be equivalent to what is offered to juniors at accredited four-year institutions.
Earlier this year, NJBIA’s Post-Secondary Education Task Force issued a report with 13 recommendations for retaining and attracting New Jersey’s future workforce that included the development of cost-saving models for obtaining academic degrees.
“Creating more affordable pathways for students to earn a bachelor’s degree is essential to delivering the highly skilled workforce needed for New Jersey’s long-term economic growth,” Musick said.