TRENTON – Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), chair of the Senate Education Committee, and Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham (D-Hudson), chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, issued the following statements on today’s ruling by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court reversing the state’s decision to deny tuition aid to a U.S.-born student living in New Jersey. The court ruled that the decision by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) was inconsistent with the legislative intent of the law.
“I am pleased with the court ruling, which is consistent with what we have believed all along. New Jersey students born in this country must be evaluated fairly for college assistance programs and that means providing equal access to state tuition assistance. No student should be denied the opportunity to attend college based on their parent’s immigration status. This is simply about ensuring equal treatment for U.S. citizens in New Jersey, a principle that is so very fundamental in our society.”
“The Appellate Division made clear that HESAA’s recent policies are inconsistent with the legislative intent of the law. The authority now has the responsibility to move quickly to resolve this matter so that no other student is subjected to the discriminatory policy the state has applied to first-generation Americans seeking higher education assistance.
“As chair of the Higher Education Committee, I will be closely monitoring progress to ensure that HESAA follows state law so that all students are treated fairly.”