Trenton – In an effort to encourage more New Jerseyans to pursue higher education, the Senate and Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Senators Dawn Addiego and Sandra Cunningham, which would establish the “New Jersey College Affordability Act.”
“Our goal with this bill is to make college more affordable for families and encourage more New Jerseyans to seek out higher education by establishing financial incentives,” said Senator Addiego (D-Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “These incentives will hopefully encourage more families to start a college fund for their children, giving them more freedom in deciding where they want to pursue a college degree.”
The bill, S-3997, would provide certain tax and other financial incentives to make college more affordable, encouraging more New Jersey families to save for higher education expenses.
“Due to the high cost of pursuing a degree, many families are discouraged from sending their teens to college,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson), Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Our hope with this bill is that by providing tax incentives to families, we can assist with the financial burden they may incur sending a child to college.”
Under the bill, a taxpayer with a gross income of $75,000 or less who opens a New Jersey Better Educational Savings Trust (NJBEST) program account would be eligible for a one-time grant of up to $750 in a dollar-for-dollar match of the initial deposit into the account.
Additionally, taxpayers with a gross income of $200,000 or less would be eligible for a gross income tax deduction for the amounts contributed to the NJBEST account, with the deduction not to exceed $10,000 in contributions. These taxpayers would also be eligible to deduct a maximum of $2,500 from gross income for the amount of principal and interest paid on a student loan under the New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) Loan Program.
Lastly, taxpayers with a gross income of $200,000 or less will also be eligible to deduct the amounts paid towards in-state tuition, which would not exceed $10,000.
The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 38-0 and sent to the Governor for final approval.