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Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

Where Opportunity Meets Innovation

A Student-Centered Vision for New Jersey Higher Education

By implementing the shared vision presented in this plan, New Jersey can make higher education in the state more affordable and accessible for all residents.

College is an Opportunity

An opportunity to gain knowledge. An opportunity to preview and select a career. An opportunity to improve future earnings and contribute to the economy. In order to support lasting economic growth across the state, every resident of New Jersey needs to have access to this critical opportunity.

New Jersey offers a bold new vision for higher education in the state through a Student Bill of Rights.

“Every New Jerseyan, regardless of life circumstances, should have the opportunity
to obtain a high-quality credential that prepares them for life after college.”

Under this vision all New Jersey students should have:

Early exposure to college

Every student in New Jersey should have the opportunity to explore college options and career paths during their middle and high school years.

Clear and comprehensible
financial information

Every student in New Jersey deserves to receive clear and comprehensible information explaining what college will actually cost for them and their families, including an explanation of the types of aid available, an estimate of likely loan debt, and information on postgraduate outcomes—such as earnings and job placement.

Affordable and predictable
education costs

Every student in New Jersey should have access to an affordable route to a college degree with predictable tuition and fees, and support to help with non-tuition expenses.

Experiential learning opportunities

Every student in New Jersey should have the opportunity to work with an employer, conduct meaningful research supervised by a faculty member, or access some other form of experiential learning before graduation.

Supportive faculty and staff

Every student in New Jersey should have access to faculty and staff who have the ability, time, and resources necessary to support student learning and development.

Support for on-time college completion

Every student in New Jersey should have the financial, academic, and social support needed to complete college as promptly as possible with a degree or credential.

Opportunities to earn college credit outside the classroom

Every student in New Jersey should have the opportunity to demonstrate that credentials and work experiences obtained outside a college classroom are worthy of being awarded college credit.

High-quality academic programs

Every student in New Jersey should have high-quality, career-relevant academic programs that will prepare them to succeed in the global economy.

Safe, supportive, and inclusive campuses

Every student in New Jersey should feel safe and supported in their learning environment. This means colleges must work to ensure students are not only safe from physical harm, but also included and welcome on campus.

A voice in the decisions that
affect their education

Every student in New Jersey should be included in decision-making processes that affect them, whether it be on campus or statewide.

These rights are not self-executing, nor will they happen overnight. Achieving them will require the state, colleges, and students to all take on active roles and work in collaboration with one another. Some steps, however, should be taken immediately to make these rights a reality. They include:

  • Exposing students to postsecondary pathways through enhanced partnerships and access to fee-free college-preparatory programs;
  • Ensuring college access and affordability by examining new partnerships between the state and institutions to meaningfully reduce higher education costs for students and their families;
  • Building support systems necessary to make sure students thrive in college and get across the graduation stage;
  • Ensuring students feel safe, supported, and included in their chosen learning environments; and
  • Cultivating research, innovation, and talent to deepen and recapture our role as a leader in the innovation economy and effectively prepare students for success after college.

Taking these coordinated steps now will help transform higher education in the state.

NJ State Educational Plan logo

Be a part of the student-centered vision for higher education in New Jersey. Stay tuned for ways to participate and make your voice heard.


Last Updated: Friday, 09/13/19