State Senator Shirley K. Turner authored the legislation that was signed into law on July 30, 2019, by Governor Phil Murphy. The legislation states that institutions of higher education and proprietary degree-granting institutions are required to improve the transparency of tuition and fees. This law is intended to give students a proper breakdown so that students and their families can make educated decisions when selecting a college/university to attend.
Every year we see college tuitions sky rocket, adding to the United States’ crippling student debt. As of 2018, the total United States student debt is about $1.52 trillion. On top of this, the listed tuitions aren’t completely clear on what students are paying for. Mandatory fees are tacked on resulting in inaccurate information for students and their families on the true cost of attending these universities.
Senator Turner stated, “I didn’t become aware of this until a controller did an audit of these institutions in New Jersey. About a third of the cost for college is in the fees.” This realization appalled her and she took it into her own hands to do something about it.
In Senator Turner’s legislation, institutions are required to provide a financial aid “shopping sheet” to each prospective student. The sheet will contain information on the costs and the amount of debt a student can accumulate from attending that respective institution. The sheet must also detail what fees the students will be paying. Additionally, the sheet will include information regarding the institution’s graduation rate, student retention rate, and student loan default rate.
This law will apply to all public and private institutions in New Jersey and will be enacted by 2020.