Statement by Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA, CEO and Executive Director
College tuition costs have skyrocketed more than 50 percent over the past decade, even though entry level salaries have not kept pace. Young professionals who have managed to obtain a college degree are often saddled with a mountain of debt and face a decade or more of repayment. To counteract this one-two punch, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) supports NJ A1282, which requires the New Jersey State Board of Education’s high school graduation requirement on financial literacy to include instruction on available state and federal tuition assistance programs for higher education, including grants, scholarships and student loans.
A1282, which was introduced into the New Jersey Assembly on Jan. 14., requires that students be instructed over the various issues associated with student loan debt, such as the repayment of debt and the consequences of failure to repay student loan debt in a timely manner. The legislation would also require school districts to ensure that students meet with a guidance counselor in either the second or third year of high school to discuss state and federal tuition assistance programs. Financial literacy instruction for A1282 would begin in the ninth grade, with the 2018/19 class starting the program retroactively.
With national student loan debt at $1.6 trillion, the need for instruction on tuition assistance programs cannot be overstated.
We urge New Jersey residents to support this initiative and call their district’s legislative representatives. Only by working together can we ensure the next generation of young professionals is able to achieve their goals and remain financially sound.