In Race to Replace Christie, Democrat Commits to Free Community College

September 19, 2017

Phil Murphy, the Democratic Party's nominee for governor, committed on Monday to providing free community college to residents, seizing on a progressive but costly proposal that would place New Jersey among a handful of states picking up the cost of tuition.

Although Murphy has said in the past that he favors tuition-free college, he put it at the top of his list of priorities to improve workforce development that he announced during a news conference in Trenton with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-Newark.

Murphy, who has been criticized for the price tags associated with his proposals, initially said that providing free tuition could cost as much as $400 million. But his campaign later said it has been done for much less elsewhere and that it would be about half of what Murphy said it would. The campaign cited a study by the Campaign for Free College Tuition that estimated it would cost $197.5 million for New Jersey to offer free college, and that it its own calculations aligned with that study.

The federal government also "plays a big role" in the cost of community college, Murphy said, so "this won't be as costly as many critics might have you believe."

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