ASSEMBLY, No. 4444

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED NOVEMBER 18, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  CELESTE M. RILEY

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Assemblyman  JOHN S. WISNIEWSKI

District 19 (Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes “Higher Education Tuition Study Commission” to consider creation of a Pay Forward, Pay Back pilot program.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing the “Higher Education Tuition Study Commission.”

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  a.  There is established a Higher Education Tuition Study Commission for the purpose of considering the creation of a proposed pilot program pursuant to section 3 of this act.  The commission shall consist of seven members, including the Secretary of Higher Education, or a designee, and six members appointed by the Governor as follows:

     (1) the president of a public research university, or his designee;

     (2) the president of a State college or university established pursuant to chapter 64 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, or his designee;

     (3) the president of a county college, or his designee;

     (4) one public member appointed upon the recommendation of the President of the Senate;

     (5) one public member appointed upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the General Assembly; and

     (6) one public member appointed upon the joint recommendation of the Minority Leaders of the Senate and the General Assembly.

     b.  Appointments to the commission shall be made within 30 days of the effective date of this act.  Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments were made.

     c.  Members of the commission shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties within the limits of funds made available to the commission for its purposes.

 

     2.  a.  The commission shall organize as soon as practicable, but no later than 30 days following the appointment of the members. The commission shall choose a chairperson from among its members and shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the commission.

     b.  The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education shall provide such staff and related support services as the commission requires to carry out its work.  The commission also shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any State, county, or municipal department, board, bureau, commission, or agency as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes.

 

     3.  a.  It shall be the duty of the Higher Education Tuition Study Commission to study the creation of a proposed pilot program called Pay Forward, Pay Back.  The pilot program would replace the current system of charging students tuition and fees for enrollment at public institutions of higher education and allow students to instead pay back a percentage of their income for a certain number of years.

     b.  If the commission determines that a pilot program is warranted, the commission shall submit a proposal for the establishment of a pilot program to the Legislature.

     c.  A proposed pilot program shall:

     (1) identify one or more public institutions of higher education to participate in the pilot program;

     (2) allow students who are residents of New Jersey, as defined by the institution, and who qualify for admission to the institution to enroll in the institution without paying tuition or fees;

     (3) provide that, in lieu of paying tuition or fees, a student must sign a binding contract to pay to the State or the institution a certain percentage of the student’s annual adjusted gross income upon graduation from the institution for a specified number of years;

     (4) specify the number of years and the percentage of annual adjusted gross income for contracts at each participating institution and base the specifications on research to date; and

     (5) establish an immediate funding source for the first 15 to 20 years of the pilot program and include the establishment of a revolving fund to deposit payments made under the pilot program.

     d.  A proposed pilot program may vary by institution, depending on:

     (1)  the total cost of education at the institution;

     (2) the portion of the cost that is paid by the State;

     (3) the number of years specified in the contract; and

     (4) the percentage of annual adjusted gross income specified in the contract.

 

     4.  The commission shall issue a report of its findings and recommendations concerning the study described in section 3 of this act, including a proposal for the establishment of a pilot program if the commission determines that such a program is warranted, to the Governor, the Senate Higher Education Committee, and the Assembly Higher Education Committee, or their successor committees, no later than twelve months after the commission organizes.

 

     5. This act shall take effect immediately, and the commission shall expire 30 days after the submission of its report.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes a Higher Education Tuition Study Commission for the purpose of studying the creation of a proposed pilot program called “Pay Forward, Pay Back,” which would replace the system of charging students tuition and fees for enrollment at public institutions of higher education and instead allow students to pay back a percentage of their income upon graduation for a certain number of years.  Under the bill, the commission will consist of seven members including the Secretary of Higher Education, or a designee, and six members to be appointed by the Governor, including: the president of a public research university or his designee; the president of a State college or university or his designee; the president of a county college or his designee; one public member appointed upon the recommendation of the Senate President; one public member appointed upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the General Assembly; and one public member appointed upon the joint recommendation of the Minority Leaders of the Senate and the General Assembly.

     The duty of the commission will be to study the creation of a proposed “Pay Forward, Pay Back” pilot program.  If the commission determines that such a program is warranted, it must submit a proposal for the establishment of a pilot program to the Legislature, which: (1) identifies one or more public institutions of higher education to participate in the program; (2) allows students who are residents of the State and who qualify for admission to enroll in the institution without paying tuition or fees; (3) provides that, in lieu of paying tuition or fees, a student must sign a binding contract to pay back a certain percentage of his annual adjusted gross income upon graduation for a specified number of years; (4) specifies the number of years and the percentage of income for contracts at each participating institution; and (5) establishes an immediate funding source for the first 15 to 20 years of the pilot program, and includes the establishment of a revolving fund to deposit payments made under the program.

     The bill directs the commission to issue a report of its findings and recommendations, including a proposal for the establishment of a pilot program if the commission determines that a program is warranted, to the Governor, the Senate Higher Education Committee, and the Assembly Higher Education Committee no later than twelve months after the commission organizes.