April 23, 2019 | 71° F

Murphy administration releases strategy for pushing new policies

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

In order to expedite free community college in New Jersey, the Education, Access and Opportunity Transition Advisory Committee recommends that Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) works to implement programs which provide assistance to high school graduates and people re-entering the job market by 2020. 

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) assumed office two weeks ago, and yesterday his administration released information based on their transition meetings over the last few months.

The findings include a recommended course of action for Murphy to follow in order to accomplish goals highlighted throughout his campaign. Increased college affordability, completion and enrollment and experiential learning opportunities are three priorities that Murphy ought to consider, according to a report by the Education, Access and Opportunity Transition Advisory Committee.

“New Jersey is the country’s biggest exporter of high school students, in part due to our high-cost colleges and universities. The Murphy administration should seek to make college more affordable,” according to the report.

One of Murphy’s campaign points was bringing free community college to New Jersey, which, according to an article in NJ Advance Media, is a plan that he estimated would cost $200 million and take a couple years to phase in. 

To do this, the transition team recommended the Office of Higher Education develop funding estimates and implement plans for New Jersey College Promise — a program for younger students who have recently completed high school, and New Jersey College Reconnect — for people re-entering the job market, according to the report.

In line with Murphy’s campaign prediction, New Jersey should aim to begin implementing these policies by the 2020 school year, according to the article. 

To increase college completion and enrollment, the report includes recommendations about providing more in-school support for students.

“... 32 percent of students entering the State’s four-year colleges and 70 percent of students entering our two-year community colleges require remediation. Lack of readiness for college is a major culprit in low graduation rates, and data has shown that a majority of students who begin in remedial courses never complete their college degrees,” according to the report.

The transition report recommends that Murphy replicate the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative that has been implemented in some New York City schools.

After three years at the City University of New York (CUNY), 40 percent of ASAP students graduated compared to 22 percent of control group students, according to the nonprofit research organization, Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC).

Donna Linderman, executive director of ASAP said, "since inception in 2007, ASAP has served more than 33,800 CUNY students across 11 cohorts and has an average three-year graduation rate of 53 percent vs. 25 percent of comparison group students." 

The final priority noted in the report is increasing opportunities for real-world training, like internships. 

Expanding workforce training initiatives, using student aid to support low-income students receiving credit for internships with employment potential and creating a state website for internship opportunities are all recommended ideas, according to the report. 

“Such programs are particularly important for lower-income college students, who benefit from skill-building and connections, as well as income,” according to the report.

The Daily Targum reported that for many Rutgers students, accepting internships in surrounding cities may depend on whether they can afford to pay travel fees. A few years ago, the School of Arts and Sciences created an internship support fund that aids students who struggle to meet these costs.

Steve Miller, director of undergraduate studies in Journalism and Media Studies, said in an earlier interview with the Targum that an internship should serve as the culminating piece of an academic pursuit. 

“To me, in the journalism department, and really any student here at the University, the internship should be the capstone of your college career,” he said. “I don’t care what major you’re in, I don’t care what major you’re in — it can’t be emphasized enough.”

Ryan Stiesi

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