|Dual High School-College Enrollment--GSCS Testimony 10-17-16|
GARDEN STATE COALITION OF SCHOOLS/GSCS
160 West State Street, Trenton NJ 08608
Senate Higher Education Committee Hearing, October 17, 2016
Good morning Chairwoman Cunningham and members of the committee. I am Betsy Ginsburg, Executive Director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools. Thank you for the chance to speak today about S2624.
The bill is laudable in its intent to help New Jersey students manage the high cost of a college education, but we feel that it needs further consideration and modification so that dual enrollment programs can offer the greatest benefit to students.
At GSCS we talk a lot about the “promise” of public education. Dual enrollment has the potential to expand that promise by making college more affordable to more students. However, creating a program that requires public school districts to pay a portion of the tuition—one third to one half--for the students who qualify for dual enrollment also has the potential to impoverish school districts that have already been challenged by more than six years of diminished state aid. It is possible that districts with students who would benefit the most from these educational opportunities may find themselves in the position of having to eliminate other valuable and hard-won programs—such as AP classes--in order to meet this latest financial burden.
Many New Jersey districts have already negotiated effective dual enrollment programs with local institutions of higher learning. We believe that local districts are best equipped to determine the specifics of the dual enrollment programs in which they participate.
Other questions also go unanswered in this legislation. They include:
We hope that in the legislative process, the questions posed by GSCS and our colleagues in the education community can be answered and necessary modifications made to the bill. GSCS stands ready to help in that effort.