VINELAND, N.J. – During a swing throughout South Jersey today, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez visited Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) Cumberland Campus to talk with students and administrators about the rising costs of college and legislation he is co-sponsoring to make community college tuition-free.
“We have a real crisis in this country when young people are faced with the grim economic reality that getting a college degree has never mattered more and getting that degree has never cost more,” said Sen. Menendez. “We’ve got to make sure every student willing to work for it can graduate, not under a mountain of debt, but armed with the skills to compete and succeed in the new economy.”
In a roundtable discussion, Sen. Menendez heard from Matthew Brown, a cybersecurity major at RCSJ-Cumberland and Ashley Kulikowski, a psychology student enrolled in the new 3+1 program at Rowan College Gloucester County (RCGC).
Earlier this month, Sen. Menendez co-sponsored the America’s College Promise Act to make community college free through a voluntary grant program that would provide a 3:1 federal-state match to states that waive community college tuition and fee costs for eligible students. Credits earned through the program must be fully transferable to four-year state institutions of higher learning. The bill also creates a grant to help cover two years of tuition for eligible students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), and other minority serving institutions that have high enrollment rates of low-income students.
Additionally, Sen. Menendez joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren to introduce the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow high-interest federal and private student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at the lower rates offered to new federal borrowers in the 2016-2017 academic year, when rates were near historic lows. The legislation could save approximately 25 million borrowers an average of $2,000 over the lifetime of their loan.
The senator was also joined today by Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand, RCSJ President Dr. Frederick Keating, RCSJ Cumberland Vice President James Piccone, and New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Rowan recently created the 3+1 Program, which allows students to spend three years at either Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) or Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) and finish the final year of their bachelor’s degree at Rowan University.