Our children deserve the highest quality education and our educators must be supported in that mission. Doors open with a great education, employers are attracted to exceptional schools and a talented workforce, and every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential.
New Jersey has the best public school system in the country. Our towns in NJ-11 are home to great universities and community colleges including Drew University, Montclair State University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, St. Elizabeth’s University, Sussex County Community College, Passaic County Community College, and Essex County College. We proudly invest in our students and teachers.
But in Washington, Betsy DeVos has worked to undermine our public schools and our teachers. She has sided against our veterans who have been cheated by for-profit colleges and she has protected unscrupulous lenders from accountability. As the parent of four public school students, I will work to protect funding for our public schools and students. But this isn’t enough. We also need to address the disparity of outcomes by race and socioeconomic background, even for kids in the same school district.
Although my own kids are still a few years away from filling out their college applications, I know tuition is a top concern for families across New Jersey. We need to make college more affordable so that it is within reach of any young person who’s willing to work hard for it. Students should be able to borrow from the federal government at the same rate as big banks, and we should allow them to refinance their debt when interest rates go down. We also need to make it easier for students to complete their courses faster, so that they can save on tuition and enter the workforce more quickly.
Student loan debt is a significant burden for students and families across New Jersey. That’s why I am leading bipartisan legislation to help break the cycle of student loan debt and increase protections for student loan borrowers. I also supported legislation in my first term to hold predatory lenders and for-profit colleges who take advantage of students and veterans accountable.
Finally, we must do more to support two-year and vocational programs that lead directly to a job upon graduation. This type of training can offer a bright future and is often a more efficient and effective model for those pursuing technical careers, particularly when paired with ongoing certificate programs.