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No Increased Funding Proposed for New Jersey Community Colleges

New Jersey Council of County Colleges members fear Gov. Phil Murphy is planning to cut about $20 million in state funding to community colleges.

Dr. Aaron FichtnerDr. Aaron FichtnerEducators, college administrators and students say the governor’s proposed FY25 budget reduction — flat funding from FY24 — could negatively affect students and the higher education community.

Dr. Aaron Fichtner, president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, noted in an interview with NJ.com that the state has been generous in expanding student financial aid programs. He said Murphy championed the Community College Opportunity Grant program, which has helped lower-income students go to community college for free or at reduced costs. He said cuts could force colleges to consider tuition increases, cutting programs and services to students, or cutting workforce-informed academic programs.

The governor’s budget proposal projects the state would end the fiscal year, which begins July 1, with a $6.3 billion surplus.

Murphy said, “with this budget, we are maintaining fiscal responsibility while also remaining true to our values — from fully funding our public education system to proposing a new, dedicated funding stream to support NJ TRANSIT.”

Murphy said the $55.9 billion spending plan redirects nearly 74% of the total budget back out into communities in the form of grants-in-aid for property tax relief, social services, and higher education, including community colleges.

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