Murphy pushes proposal to increase threshold for college promise by 25% – up to $100K

Gov. Phil Murphy, looking to increase the number of students eligible for the New Jersey College Promise program, told a receptive higher education audience Wednesday why his fiscal year 2024 budget proposes to increase the annual income threshold for New Jersey College Promise by 25%, from $80,000 to $100,000.

Murphy, speaking at a roundtable discussion with students and higher education stakeholders at Rutgers-Newark, said more than 70,000 awards already have been given out through the New Jersey College Promise initiative.

“Ensuring equitable access to a high-quality education remains a key priority of my Administration – and making college more affordable is a critical component of those efforts,” he said.

“By expanding the New Jersey College Promise, we can build on the success of this initiative to help more students like those we heard from today achieve their educational goals. Continuing to invest in higher education in the FY2024 budget and beyond will benefit thousands of students and their families throughout our state.” The New Jersey College Promise consists of two financial aid programs — the Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) Program and the Garden State Guarantee (GSG) — that together provide an affordable pathway for New Jersey students to earn a college degree by covering a significant portion or all of their tuition and fees not already covered by other financial aid and scholarships.

New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges said the increase will have great impact.

“Listening to the compelling stories from students today demonstrated just how important and life-changing more equitable pathways to college can be for New Jersey residents and their families,” he said. “Just this year, we expect almost 30,000 students to benefit from the New Jersey College Promise.

“This means access to a debt-free degree for thousands of families and, by expanding eligibility, sends a consistent message to our students, their families, and the state that we are invested in providing opportunity and helping people maximize their potential through affordable postsecondary pathways in New Jersey.”

David Socolow, executive director of the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, agreed.

“Making students with family incomes up to $100,000 eligible for the College Promise will reach many who do not currently receive any federal or state financial aid — allowing them to focus on their studies and take on less student debt,” he said.