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New Jersey’s Low Income Students to Get Free Education

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The low-income students in New Jersey may get free education starting in the spring of 2019 if their school is shortlisted for a college innovation program.

State’s acting Governor Sheila Oliver announced the Community College Innovation Challenge as a pilot program on Tuesday and asked 19 community colleges to submit applications.

“I’m very excited that the Secretary of Higher Education and Higher Education and the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) are moving forward to make higher education more accessible and affordable for New Jersey families,” Oliver said.

The state has set aside funds for the community college initiative in 2019 budget which includes additional $20 million for Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) awards to be applied directly to the accounts of low-income students.

The students at the participating community colleges with six or more credits falling in the income slab of $0-$45,000 will be eligible to receive the CCOG awards to meet the tuition expenses. Besides, the participating colleges will receive a capacity building grant up to $250,000 to plan for different phases of the innovation program.

“All too often, the cost of college prevents students from earning the postsecondary credentials they need to boost their careers,” Zakiya Smith Ellis, Secretary of Higher Education, said.

“This initiative is an important step in improving affordability for thousands of community college students, increasing their likelihood of completion, and strengthening the talent pipeline for the state’s economy,” she added.

The applications submitted by the colleges will be jointly evaluated by Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and HESAA.

Applications for the program are being accepted through August 31, 2018.