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May 2, 2017

Finding money for college is tough, both for well-heeled families and their low-income counterparts. No surprise, it’s much tougher on the latter, but what is an eye opener is just how much harder — when calculated as a percent of overall income.

New Jersey families that earn $30,000 or less have to spend a staggering 107 percent of their total income to cover the average net price of going to a four-year public college or university, according to a new report from The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS). (“Net price” is the total cost of college — books, transportation, and living expenses, as well as tuition and fees — minus state, federal, and college grants and scholarships.)

The report, “College Costs in Context: A State-by-State Look at College (Un) Affordability,” also indicates that the net price for a two-year public education in New Jersey would eat up 58 percent of a poor family’s income — making the Garden State one of the least affordable states for low-income students seeking a public education.

In comparison, the neediest families across the country must commit an average of 77 percent of their total income to cover costs at a four-year school and 50 percent at a two-year school.

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