BY ERIC CHOI
The burdens of student debt and tuition rates have been hurting college undergraduate and graduate students for years, and does not look to be easing soon.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 50 percent of students who took out student loans reported that repaying them has made it tougher to make ends meet after leaving school. Others have said it has restricted efforts in getting a home, pursuing a certain career, and delayed marriage or starting a family.
Pew data goes further, disclosing that the average tuition cost has tripled in the last three decades.
According to latest College Scorecard information released by the U.S. Department of Education, County College of Morris has been rated favorably to similar community colleges state-wide in regards to tuition, monthly loan payments, and overall value.
Helping to insure CCM’s leadership giving students the most “bang for their buck” is the $5k for 5 Years ($5K45Y) scholarship, spearheaded by Student Government Association President and Phi Theta Kappa member, Carlos Herrera.
The SGA is currently raising $5,000 minimum to establish a scholarship under its respective name for the CCM Foundation. The SGA has plans to conduct a bake sale and host a dance in the coming weeks to complement the approximately $2,000 already allocated towards scholarships.
Another $2,300 has been given by personal donations. The ultimate goal is to allocate $1,000 from the initial $5,000 minimum spanned across five years, reaching out to five or more students.
Since CCM’s tuition rate is $138.00 per credit for in-county residents, this scholarship should make a considerable impact in supporting recipients. The beneficiaries may be needing much help, considering Herrera himself said he has, “Had to pay for tuition before out of [his] pocket, [and] it can be a lot of money.”
Although final plans may be changed in the future, current criterion of scholarship will be merit based.
As Renata Mauriz, CCM student who advocated at the N.J. State House for the passing of the Tuition Equity Act commented, “[this] Opens scholarship opportunities for undocumented students who are ineligible to apply for FAFSA.”
In a final word, Herrera added “It’s a great effort to be able to help so many students, even after our time at CCM.”
Disclosure: this reporter has personally contributed $1,000 to the $5K45Y scholarship.