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Four AFT New Jersey members are participating on working groups established to develop strategies to increase support for college students and achieve the statewide goal of 65 percent of New Jerseyans with college degrees by the year 2025, according to the Office of the Secretary Higher Education.

“We are extremely appreciative to Governor Murphy and Secretary Zakiya Smith Ellis for engaging with stakeholders who are in the classroom and on campus with students every day,” said Susanna Tardi, AFTNJ Executive VP for Higher Education. “We are dedicated to determining a course for improving higher education in NJ,” said Tardi, who is on the Student Success working group. The group’s charge is to “explore opportunities to strengthen student success by scaling and replicating academic, social, and financial interventions that are innovative and effective.”

Raritan Valley Community College Professor Maria DeFilippis is participating on the On-ramps to College Working Group, which will “work to increase postsecondary access for all students in the state by developing innovative solutions for addressing the equity gaps in college attendance by race and socioeconomic status.”

College Council President Tim Haresign, a Stockton University Professor, is on the Making College Affordable group, charged with “examining potential new state funding models and exploring approaches to more meaningful collaboration among institutions to meaningfully reduce higher education prices for students and families.”

William Paterson University Professor Michelle Cascardi is on the Safe And Inclusive Environment working group, focused on “developing best practices to enhance safety and support services on campus, and giving students a voice in important campus matters.”

In addition, Murphy’s 2020 higher education budget proposal includes the redistribution of $15 million in current operating aid and an additional $20 million in new aid to be distributed based on outcomes, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

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