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Poll: Tuition-Free Community College — Smart Move or Dumb Mistake?

Under the ‘Murphy plan,’ students get a free ride at NJ’s two-year schools. Guadagno says the middle class will wind up footing the bill

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy announced earlier this week that, if he wins the election this fall, his goal is to make community college tuition-free across New Jersey.

The proposal was part of a broader policy platform aimed at improving the state economy by boosting opportunities for women, minorities, and the disabled. But the campaign of Republican candidate Kim Guadagno also weighed in, questioning how state taxpayers would be able to take on the added financial burden — estimated by the Murphy camp to be as much as $200 million — without facing major tax hikes.

Should New Jersey be the next state to offer free community college?

  • I believe in small government, and the last thing that the state should be in the business of doing is completely subsidizing community college tuition. It’s that simple.

  • I do like the concept of this proposal, but I think completely free tuition takes things too far. If there’s $200 million available in the always-tight state budget, that money should be used to expand existing state programs that help students afford to attend college.

  • One thing that no one is really considering is how this could impact the state’s four-year colleges and universities. If we start offering free college tuition, will we see big drop off at the four-year colleges? That could lead to even higher tuition or force schools to lay off workers, and no one wants to see that happen.

  • You have to look at this as an investment. New Jersey taxpayers already invest heavily in the K-12 school districts, but millennials have been leaving the state in droves for a variety of reasons. Will this keep more of them here? If so, it would ultimately contribute to our economy.

  • This is a great idea. First, New Jersey businesses keep asking the state to offer training in technical areas that they say don’t need a four-year liberal arts degree. But they need post-secondary education that provides them the skills they need. That will be a boost to our economy. Second, it is a real solution to the problem of sky-high college costs that can bankrupt families or saddle students with years of debt. Take two years at community college, and then transfer to the school of their choice. Now, that makes sense.

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