Monday, June 4, 2018
Across New Jersey and our nation there has been much discussion about the prospect of free college tuition. While many may question how our state or country could afford to cover the cost for so many, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson is offering a more financially realistic proposal.
Levinson is calling for the implementation of free college tuition at New Jersey’s 11 public higher education institutions as well as community colleges for qualified surviving children and spouses of those who die in active duty.
The U.S. Veterans Administration offers a number of benefits and programs for them, but free college tuition is not one of them. Other than private scholarships, Levinson said he is aware of only the War Orphans Tuition Assistance program that provides $500 per year for four years of college or equivalent training.
“If colleges and universities can offer full paid tuition for athletes and video gamers, shouldn’t we be doing the same for the children of those who died to protect each of us and our family members,” questioned Levinson.
“I am reminded of President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address during which he affirmed the government’s obligation to our soldiers and their families. ‘To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.’”
“Offering free college tuition for all is admirable but, unfortunately, not feasible,” said Levinson. “But this initiative is something that could, and should, be done. The cost would be minimal while the benefit to the families of the fallen would be great.”
The county executive has shared his proposal with the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders and Dr. Barbara Gaba, President of Atlantic Cape Community College, for their consideration and support.