How to get a free college education
New Jersey Gov.
Chris Christie (R) on Thursday signed legislation that would allow students to enroll in state-funded online programs at a reduced cost if they are low-income.
Under the proposal, students with incomes below $50,000 would not have to pay tuition and fees for a state-subsidized program that currently provides a free public college education for all students.
The governor’s Office of Education will administer the new program, which will be called the “Online Bachelor’s Degree Program.”
“New Jerseyans are hungry for better opportunities for their children,” Christie said in a statement.
“We must ensure our students are prepared for the future by providing them with the best education possible.
We will continue to support students who are making good progress in their careers and families.”
The state currently offers a tuition-free program for low- and moderate-income students.
The proposal also includes a reduction in fees that would be waived for students who earn less than $45,000 a year.
Under current law, students who qualify for a free online program would pay $8,000 per year for a one-year program.
Students who qualify would pay a $1,500 enrollment fee.
Under the legislation, those students would have to spend $5,000 on the program.
A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said the plan was drafted by the Office of Technology and Innovation, which is the state agency responsible for setting up the online Bachelor’s program.
The state is not yet releasing the final version of the plan, which must still be approved by the Assembly and signed by Christie.
The online Bachelor program was created under the Common Core standards and is one of the first states to adopt them, but enrollment has been limited due to the state’s financial crisis.
The online Bachelor is also one of only a handful of public schools to offer online college, which has been criticized by some as a waste of money and low-quality instruction.
Critics have long complained about the low-cost online education, which they say is being forced on students at the expense of their parents’ income.
The legislation has also been criticized as an attack on students’ right to free and equal education, a point Christie also made during a visit to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque on Thursday.