In this video press release, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Higher Education Chair Celeste M. Riley (both D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) hold a news conference on their "Pay Forward, Pay Back" alternative college funding legislation.

The pending legislation would create a seven-member commission to study the feasibility of creating a "pay forward, pay back" college funding program in New Jersey. This type of program would essentially cover the up-front costs of a college education at public institutions of higher education and, upon graduation, would require the students to pay a percentage of their income over a certain number of years to pay back their accrued tuition costs.

The sponsors believe examining this sort of payment program will help start a conversation on how to alleviate the number of New Jersey college students accruing tens of thousands of dollars in interest bearing loan debt just to receive a college education, or in some cases, put off going to school altogether.

To underscore the seriousness of the college affordability and indebtedness problem, two college-age students struggling with the financial burden of college - Emily Kerr, of Maple Shade, and Maria Asiz, of Edison - were present to share their first-hand accounts of struggling to afford the cost of higher education.

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