TRENTON – A bill to set up a commission to study college affordability was passed Thursday in the Assembly by an 80-0 vote.
Passage of the bill was not in doubt. But Assemblyman Joe Cryan, (D-20), Union delivered impassioned remarks on the floor concerning what he said is a major reason college is unaffordable: Students can’t graduate in four years.
“The way to create affordability is to graduate students on time,’’ Cryan said.
He cited grim statistics showing how few students can accept a degree in four years and how many students enter college requiring remedial help.
“We have a crisis,’’ he said. “We have created a generation that simply goes into debt. We’re losing a generation. We need to change the culture.”
Jay Webber, (R-26), Parsippany, a frequent cross-the-aisle opponent, echoed Cryan’s remarks and said he agreed with nearly everything he said.
He urged the commission members, once they are chosen, to examine options such as third-party payment assistance.
S2965/A4444 would set up a commission to consider among other things a proposed “pay forward” program in which tuition at public colleges is replaced by allowing students to pay back a portion of their income after graduation.
Cryan was pointing out that this does not necessarily make college more affordable, it just postpones student payments.