Zwicker, Benson, Schaer & Holley Legislation Urging Congress to Ensure Students Access to Debt-Free Higher Education Clears Assembly
Legislation Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker, Daniel Benson, Gary Schaer and Jamel Holley sponsored urging Congress and the President of the United States to enact legislation ensuring students have access to debt-free higher education at public colleges and universities gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
The cost of college has risen more than 250 percent over the last three decades while income for typical families grew by only 16 percent, making it difficult for a student to graduate without debt, as reported by the White House.
"A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make, but it has never been more difficult for families to afford the dream of a college education, as the cost has grown exponentially in decades," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). "As a result, an increasing number of young Americans, including many from New Jersey, have been forced to assume significant student loan debt to afford the cost of higher education."
"Student loan debt saddles the very students who most depend on a college degree to level the economic playing field. This debt constrains their career choices, hurts their credit ratings and prevents them from fully participating in the economy," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Excessive student loan debt places in jeopardy the quintessential milestones of the American Dream, such as buying a home or car, starting a family and saving for retirement. Our goals for higher education in this country must include providing a debt-free education for college-bound students."
"Young people in New Jersey and throughout the country should have the same opportunity offered to those who went to college in previous generations, including the ability to attend public colleges and universities without taking on burdensome debt," said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). "It should be a public policy goal of the federal government to establish a debt-free public higher education system to enable students to attain a college degree without burdensome debt."
"Given the importance of higher education to the nation's economy, the national goal should be to expand the opportunity to pursue and attain a college degree in this country," said Holley (D-Union). "It should become easier not harder for students to meet their educational goals and obtain a degree. Establishing a debt-free public higher education system should be included in national public policy objectives for higher education."
New Jersey ranks ninth in the country in student loan debt, with the average student loan debt for New Jersey's public and private college and university graduates at more than $30,000 in 2016, according to a study conducted by LendEDU.
The Assembly passed the measure 61-0-13.
HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset) toured KWG Industries Tuesday and discussed jobs creation and technological innovation with employees.
KWG Industries is a precision engineered component parts manufacturer and a metals distributor. Zwicker, a physicist at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory, listened to what the business needs to continue to grow and be successful.
“What I heard today is what I have been hearing from entrepreneurs and business owners around the district,” Zwicker said. “New Jersey needs to embrace and grow our innovation economy if we are going to create the jobs necessary to compete globally and with neighboring states.
PRINCETON, N.J. - Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) toured UTC Aerospace Systems Sensors Unlimited on Thursday.
Zwicker led a roundtable discussion on creating jobs and growing New Jersey’s economy with innovative technologies. Sensors Unlimited is a major supplier of shortwave infrared technology, products and imaging solutions.
The tour and roundtable, one of many Zwicker is having, highlighted the importance of high tech industries to fuel economic growth and job creation. Zwicker, a physicist at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, listened to what the business needs to continue to grow and be successful.
“To expect a student’s family or other survivors to pay their college loan debt in the event of their death is cruel and unacceptable. We can do better than that,” said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th, one of 32 sponsors of the bill.
The bill directs the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to forgive certain student loans in the event of a student borrower’s death or total and permanent disability and grant deferment for temporary total disability.
The bill applies to loans issued under the NJCLASS program - New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students – which helps cover college costs not already covered by other sources of grants, scholarships and loans. The program offers low-cost rates on supplemental loans to New Jersey residents attending an eligible in-state or out-of-state school, as well as out-of-state students attending a school in New Jersey.
(SKILLMAN) – Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker announced three dates on which constituents who are unable to visit his Skillman district office may seek in-person assistance from his legislative staff.
The off-site office hours will give constituents the opportunity to receive support in matters related to state agencies, voice their opinions on state issues and familiarize themselves with services available through Zwicker’s office.
“Our goal is to make ourselves accessible to constituents, no matter where they live in the district,” said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). “I encourage residents to bring their questions and concerns to these mobile office hours.”
Flemington Office Hours
Wednesday, September 28th, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Hunterdon County Library
314 State Route 12, Flemington, NJ 08822
South Brunswick Office Hours
Wednesday, October 12th, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
South Brunswick Public Library
110 Kingston Lane, Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852
Somerville Office Hours
Wednesday, October 19th, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Somerville Public Library
35 West End Ave, Somerville, NJ 08876