Cunningham Bill To Grant College Credit For Completion Of Jersey Boys And Girls State Programs Advances

Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham, D-Hudson, listens to testimony during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee’s hearing on the FY 2011 Budget bills.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Higher Education Committee Chairwoman Sandra Bolden Cunningham that would award college credit to high school students participating in the American Legion Jersey Boys State or the American Legion Auxiliary Jersey Girls State programs for successful completion of the governmental leadership course was approved today by the committee.

“The students chosen for the Jersey Boys State and Girls State excel both in terms of academics and leadership potential,” said Senator Cunningham, D-Hudson. “With an expressed interest in civics and our political system, they represent the elected officials and community leaders of tomorrow. In recognition of their hard work and commitment to public service, students who successfully complete these programs should be rewarded with credits that will help advance their college career.”

The bill, S-2777, would permit, but not require, New Jersey’s public and independent institutions of higher education to grant up to three college credits to high school students who successfully complete the American Legion Jersey Boys State or the American Legion Auxiliary Jersey Girls State programs. In addition, the bill would direct the Secretary of Higher Education to encourage higher education institutions to award credit in accordance with this legislation.

Boys State and Girls State are summer leadership and citizenship programs sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary for high school juniors. The program goals of Boys State and Girls State are to: develop leadership and pride in American citizens; educate participants about our system of government; instill in participants a greater understanding of American traditions; and stimulate a desire to maintain our government processes. These programs provide college-level curriculum to a select group of high school juniors who complete an intensive, weeklong governmental leadership program in which students create, elect, and administer their own government.

“As tuition fees for college continue to rise, it is important that we invest in programs that not only prepare high school students for rigorous college-level courses, but also give them a head start in fulfilling credit requirements,” said Senator Cunningham. “We are proud of these student leaders for their significant achievements, and this legislation will encourage more young people to get involved with their local and state government.”

Founded in 1946, Jersey Boys State has been based at Rider University since 1969. Its female counterpart Jersey Girls State was founded in 1947 and is currently based at Georgian Court College.

The bill received unanimous approval by the full Assembly in April. It now heads to the Senate floor.

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