College in New Jersey is More Affordable Than You Think

Jun 8, 2023

High school parents and students — try not to be distracted or discouraged by what some refer to as the ‘tuition sticker price.’ Attending college in New Jersey is far more affordable than some of you might think.  

There is a common assumption, driven by media stories and other sources, that college might not be worth the cost and that tuition has become unaffordable. I will not dispute the fact that the costs of attending college, in New Jersey and nationally, have increased over the past two decades but that does not diminish what a student can gain by obtaining a college degree. While the substantial value of having a four-year college degree over the long term is indisputable Opinion | Princeton University president: A college degree is worth it – The Washington Post the actual net cost of obtaining that degree can be confusing and, therefore, assessing the actual return on this investment can be an uncertain process. 

The greatest opportunity for success can be found by starting college ‘homework’ before a student even sets foot on campus. When exploring college options, students and their parents need to start their search by doing some research to understand the college landscape. Only by analyzing what is available through scholarships, grants, state, and federal aid, does it become possible to decide whether, when and where each student might matriculate.  

But here’s the good news . . . There is a resource that has done most of the initial work for you. 

First, allow me to share a quick personal story about finding value in some unexpected places. I have a 16-year-old daughter who is currently a sophomore at a high school in New Jersey and part of a travel sports team. During a recent team tournament (the kind with significant down time spent with fellow parents and their kids), my wife engaged in a discussion with some parents on their college searches, and more specifically, the costs of higher education in our state. 

After several parents aware of my role supporting the independent universities in New Jersey mentioned they were considering either sending their kids out of state for school or not even pursuing the college option for their children, my wife dutifully sprang into action! She shared that a document had been prepared by the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), entitled Going to College in New Jersey that is both a remarkably complete and highly practical guide to assessing the actual cost of attending college in New Jersey and what each of our schools have to offer. It is a great resource for key information about each of the 48 institutions in our state, including our public and independent four-year colleges and community colleges. 

After my wife brought several copies of this guide to the parents at the next tournament, we were flooded with requests for more copies. The reaction from the parents was extraordinary. They were not willing to sacrifice their own copies but wanted to give this valuable resource to friends who are parents to New Jersey high school students. Thanks to our friends at HESSA, I was able to get additional copies which were then ‘gobbled up like hotcakes’ by these eager parents. 

If you want to get your own copy of this extremely useful tool that practically outlines the process for determining the true net cost of attending college in New Jersey and what makes each institution so special — and different — all you need to do is visit www.gtcinj.com.  After reviewing this document as part of your pre-college ‘homework’, you too will feel far more comfortable and excited about the incredible options you have in the State of New Jersey. You will also see that each institution is different in the financial support they provide and what they offer with respect to the student experience. For example, you will learn that our independent colleges and universities provide over $1 billion in institutional aid with 95% of our students receiving financial aid. You will also learn that our independent schools have a student to faculty ratio of 12:1 — well below the national average and 25% smaller than public universities in New Jersey. 

The 2023-24 edition of Going to College in New Jersey will be available late August 2023 when it will be delivered to high schools throughout New Jersey. To advance request a printed copy of the upcoming 2023-24 issue, send an email to Outreach@hesaa.org

Steve Reynolds
President, ICUNJ

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