College is the gateway to the middle class for most young people, but the price has never been higher. And a new study shows that New Jersey has actually exacerbated the student debt crisis by shifting the costs of college onto students and families.
According to the national think tank Demos, funding for higher education in New Jersey has dropped by 17 percent since 2006. That has forced every public college and university in the state to raise tuition and fees, far outpacing financial aid packages.
In 2001, Tuition Assistance Grants covered 52 percent of the average tuition at a four-year school — now they cover just 39 percent. As a result, the average New Jersey graduate shoulders $26,000 in debt.