LEGISLATIVE FISCAL ESTIMATE

ASSEMBLY, No. 4087

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

DATED: DECEMBER 16, 2016

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Synopsis:

Establishes “New Jersey College Ready Students Program Act”; provides tuition-free dual enrollment opportunities at county college for certain high school students.

Type of Impact:

Expenditure Increase in General Fund

Agencies Affected:

State.

 

Office of Legislative Services Estimate

Fiscal Impact

Year 1 

Year 2 

Year 3 

 

State Cost

$4,110,000

$4,270,000

$4,440,000

 

 

 

 

·         The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) estimates that Assembly Bill No. 4087 of 2016 will result in increased costs to the State of $4,110,000 in the first year, $4,270,000 in the second year, and $4,440,000 in the third year to pay the tuition for 5,515 students each year. 

·         The OLS notes that: (1) owing to limited information available to reasonably estimate the number of students for whom the State would pay tuition, it is possible that the pool of eligible students may be greater; (2) the analysis does not account for the possibility that more low-income students may enroll in a dual enrollment course if the tuition were to be paid by the State; (3) it is possible that some students currently taking dual enrollment courses do so at a four-year institution, as opposed to a county college, potentially inflating the estimated number of students for whom the State would pay tuition; and (4) the analysis does not attempt to estimate the number of students enrolled in a dual enrollment course that would not be deemed college ready.

 

 

BILL DESCRIPTION

 

      Assembly Bill No. 4087 of 2016 establishes the “New Jersey College Ready Students Program Act.”  Under the bill, the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of Higher Education, is directed to establish a program to provide for the tuition-free enrollment of certain public high school students who enroll in dual enrollment courses at a local county college.

      In determining eligibility for the tuition benefit provided pursuant to the bill, the criteria will be the same as the Statewide eligibility standards regarding family need established by the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) created by section 4 of P.L.1968, c.142 (C.18A:71-13) to qualify for financial assistance from the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund.

      A student may receive up to three credits tuition-free per semester, and no more than six credits tuition-free in a school year in each of the 11th and 12th grades provided that: (1) the school district in which the student is enrolled has entered into a dual enrollment agreement with a county college pursuant to the provisions of State law; and (2) the student has earned a minimum grade point average to indicate college readiness, as determined by the commissioner.

      In order to maintain eligibility for the program, a student would need to receive a grade of C or higher for all college courses completed through the program.  In the event that an otherwise eligible student does not meet the minimum grade point average requirement established pursuant to the bill, the student would be eligible to complete one remedial course through the county college tuition-free per semester of eligibility.

      Under the bill, the State will bear the cost of tuition for students who participate in the program.

 

 

FISCAL ANALYSIS

 

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

 

      None received.

 

 

OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES

 

      The OLS estimates that Assembly Bill No. 4087 of 2016 will result in increased costs to the State of $4,110,000 in the first year, $4,270,000 in the second year, and $4,440, 000 in the third year to pay the tuition for 5,515 students each year.  The number of students that would benefit is based on the 11th and 12th grade enrollment multiplied by the percent of students in those grades that take a dual enrollment course (as reported in the School Performance Report) multiplied by the percent of students in the school who qualify for free and reduced price meals, which was used as a proxy to determine the income threshold established under EOF.  

      According to data compiled by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the average per credit tuition rate for New Jersey county colleges for the 2015-2016 academic year was $119.38.  The OLS then used the average increase in per credit tuition over the past 10 academic years and multiplied by six (maximum number of credits offered to a student under the program), in order to calculate the potential yearly cost that the State would bear.  Using these assumptions, in the 2016-2017 academic year, the program would benefit about 5,515 students at a cost to the State of $4,110,000.     

      The OLS notes that (1) the income eligibility range for free and reduced price meals (185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines) is somewhat lower than the income threshold for EOF (roughly 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for 2016), so the pool of eligible students may be greater; (2) the analysis does not account for the possibility that more low-income students may enroll in a dual enrollment course if the tuition were to be paid by the State; (3) it is possible that some students currently taking dual enrollment courses do so at a four-year institution, as opposed to a county college, potentially inflating the estimated number of students for whom the State would pay tuition under the bill; and (4) the analysis does not attempt to estimate the number of students enrolled in a dual enrollment course that would not be deemed college ready.

 

Section:

Education

Analyst:

Juan C. Rodriguez

Assistant Fiscal Analyst

Approved:

Frank W. Haines III

Legislative Budget and Finance Officer

 

This legislative fiscal estimate has been produced by the Office of Legislative Services due to the failure of the Executive Branch to respond to our request for a fiscal note.

 

This fiscal estimate has been prepared pursuant to P.L.1980, c.67 (C.52:13B-6 et seq.).