The 2014 election season has come and gone, but it’s important for New Jersey residents to maintain their interests in politics in order for positive social change to occur. In order to try and provoke a continued interest, I’ll be providing prompts for potencial, yet much needed legislation for the Garden State throughout the rest of November. In the first part of NjPovertyReality’s legislation series, I’ll offer a possible remedy to the ever-growing amount of student debt in New Jersey.
The following is not completely my own idea, due to the brilliant students and professor at Portland State University in Oregon who have inspired the following elaboration:
New Jersey should adopt similar legislation that would give college students the option to attend a four year college or university without paying tuition while in college, which would then eliminate the need to take out private or government loans. The deal would be that the State of New Jersey covers the cost of tuition, and in turn, students who chose to have the State do so would have their future wages garnished by the State following graduation in order to return the payment. This eliminates the reality of students paying for more college than they received through interest, and at the proposed 3% garnish per year, a firmly established college graduate should have no difficulty adapting to such a wage garnish.
The difference between Oregon’s plan and this one, so far, is that the New Jersey Proposal would allow all students who are residents of New Jersey and attend a New Jersey institution to participate in the plan, regardless of the institution being public or private. In order to help cover some of the initial debt that the state would be assuming, students would be required to pay $1,000 at some point during their four years in college. The $1,000 (or, $250 a year) would be a symbiotic benefit to the student and the state by it reducing the total amount of money to be garnished from the student’s future wages, and it would also give the state some cash upfront.
Another difference in the New Jersey Proposal would be that students who have already graduated would be able to have their outstanding loans paid for by the State. However in this case, graduated students who would participate in this plan would need to agree to a 10% wage garnish. Students would participate in this program for a much smaller amount of time due to the large interest garnish, which makes sense due to the state suddenly assuming what could be four years worth of tuition rather than one year’s tuition for current students. Within the first ten years of New Jersey adopting such a college payment proposal, it is very likely that the 10% wage garnish for already graduated students would eventually become unnecessary due to most students choosing to participate in the 3% garnish option, and with time the population of students who have attended college before the implementation of this Proposal would diminish.
Overall, this type of legislation seems to make very good sense for the economy and for students. The New Jersey College Payment Proposal guarantees payments to be made, since they would directly be taken out of paychecks. The Proposal also allows students a better opportunity to make more of their time in college but making it not so necessary to hold one or more jobs while simultaneously being a full time college student. Such a proposal would also encourage students to make the most of their education and to seek higher paying jobs, since the more money they make essentially means less time they’ll spend owing the State a portion of their pay. Plus, since college graduates would no longer be paying interest on their student loans, per graduate, there would be thousands of extra dollars floating through the economy, rather than being pre-dedicated to interest-infused loan payments. This Proposal also addresses New Jersey’s worry of the “brain-drain” by which residents seek education in other parts of the country and eventually leave the State for good, taking their dollars with them. I highly doubt that high school graduates would pass up this opportunity in New Jersey. Who knows, maybe the Garden State would even begin to see more families crossing the Delaware River just so that their children could take advantage of such an opportunity.
I am sure that skeptics would say nay to this proposal due to the costly, seemingly continuous “in the red” nature of this program. I say that is really nothing to worry about, given the probable payback of increasing the number of highly educated people who would stay in New Jersey.