SENATOR BEACH-SPONSORED NJTEAM ACT SIGNED INTO LAW

Senator James Beach addresses the Legislature.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Beach that would provide in-state tuition rates at the state’s colleges and universities to veterans living in New Jersey, regardless of their state of residence was signed into law yesterday.

“The brave men and women who have served in our armed forces deserve honor and respect,” said Senator Beach (D Burlington and Camden). “Offering in-state tuition rates to our nation’s veterans and their loved ones recognizes their heroic service to our country and eases their transition to civilian life by making college more affordable.”

The “New Jersey Tuition Equality for America’s Military (NJTEAM) Act” provides that a veteran who is living in New Jersey and attending a public institution of higher education in New Jersey will be regarded as a resident of the State for tuition purposes, and eligible to pay an in-State tuition rate regardless of the veteran’s state of residence.  A “veteran” for purposes of the law is an individual who has served on active duty in the Uniformed Services of the United States and who was discharged or released and who qualifies for educational assistance under the federal “All-Volunteer Force Educational Assistance Program” or “Post-9/11 Educational Assistance” program.

The law also allows certain other “covered individuals,” such as a veteran’s spouse or child, who are living in New Jersey to pay in-State tuition at a public institution of higher education, regardless of their state of residence. A “covered individual” is an individual who is entitled to educational assistance under provisions of the federal “Post-9/11 Educational Assistance” program by virtue of the individual’s relationship to a veteran. The provisions of the law conform with the federal “Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for employees with an associate’s degree earn more than their counterparts with high school diplomas. The report found that the median salary for those with an associate’s degree is around $57,000 while those with a high school diploma earn a median salary of about $35,000.

The Senate approved the law by a vote of 28-0. It passed the Assembly unanimously in December. The law was also sponsored by former state Senator Donald Norcross, who is currently representing the 1st Congressional District. It will take effect immediately.