Christie: Remember us college students

Governor-elect Chris Christie has made promises regarding higher education during the campaign, but will he keep them once in office?
Governor-elect Chris Christie has made promises regarding higher education during the campaign, but will he keep them once in office?

After an election season full of negative advertising in both directions, N.J. voters elected Republican Chris Christie the 55th governor of the state of New Jersey Tuesday, unseating incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine and handily beating Independent Chris Daggett.

Congratulations to Christie, and to all the student volunteers and workers who tirelessly contributed to his campaign.

The governor-elect said in his acceptance speech that he will lower taxes, decrease spending and end corruption in the state – all honorable causes.

But, as students, we also want Christie to address the status of the Garden State’s colleges and universities. The College of New Jersey’s budget was cut by $8 million dollars in 2007, under the Corzine administration. As a result of budget cuts, the Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program was eliminated, potentially leading to a “brain drain” of New Jersey’s best and brightest heading out of state for college.

On his campaign Web site, Christie promises to “reinstate the Higher Education Incentive Endowment Program to spur private investment in higher education and help with tuition stabilization, scholarships, recruiting faculty and building new classroom and research facilities by providing state matching funds for endowment contributions of at least $1 million at a rate of 10 percent per year, helping to encourage and reward attainment of major private gifts.”

He also says he will “create a new ‘Outstanding Scholars’ program to provide public and independent institutions of higher education with campus-based funding to recruit high achieving New Jersey students as measured by class rank and SAT scores.”

Other promised improvements include, “Creating a tuition tax credit scholarship program for low-income students in failing schools to attend public and non-public schools that agree to admit any applying student and accept the scholarship as payment-in-full.”

Most of these ideas sound like promising solutions to help alleviate the financial challenges currently facing many of New Jersey’s college students.

Then again, how often does a campaign promise get put on the back-burner once the candidate is in office?

As students and future taxpayers in this state, we should expect to be high on Christie’s priority list.

We wish him good luck upon inauguration – and we hope he knows we will hold him to his promises.