Assembly gets an earful on improving public higher education

By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer

Public higher education in New Jersey badly needs changes to become more affordable, accessible, and successful, legislators were told Wednesday during a hearing at Rowan University.

[…] Ten students were the last to testify on a series of issues.

“Right now, New Jersey is in a higher-education crisis.,” said Jalina Wayser, a Rowan student studying political science and sociology. “Students are being shut out of higher education, and it’s not acceptable.”

The students, most from the New Jersey United Students advocacy group, criticized the legislators for not better incorporating student voices into the creation of the bills.

“We do not want to be simply the students yelling outside the building, we do not simply want to be the students coming and sitting at the table in front of the microphone,” said Justin Habler, who graduated this month from Rutgers-New Brunswick. “We want to be the students that are working with you, not only outside, but inside as well.”

The legislators nodded, with Riley responding that she was open to working with them as the legislation advanced.