With college costs continuing to rise, New Jersey legislators could soon approve a plan to make the overall higher education experience a little more affordable.

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Legislation passed by the Assembly on Nov. 13 would prohibit public and private universities in New Jersey from requiring students to buy meal plans. The measure would permit those institutions to offer a meal plan only in the form of a spending allowance.

"Four years of college is very expensive and if there's some way to make it more affordable then I'm going to work on doing that. If there's a less expensive way for students to attend college and get a degree, then that's what we need to work on," Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield).

He stressed college is very valuable and it's important to educate our children. "But lets try to save some money or make it more affordable for these students going forward."

The more options that are given to students and their families, according to Mazzeo, the better it is for everyone.

"People are pretty smart in the way of maybe finding a less expensive way of dealing with the meal plan and making it more affordable. Whatever you can save is helpful today and going forward as far as the education part of it because that part of it doesn't seem to be stabilizing, it seems to be going up. That's why we're looking for different ways to make it more affordable," Mazzeo said.

Companion legislation also passed by the Assembly would require colleges to post more financial information on their websites, and another measure would require the state auditor to conduct an audit of fees charged by public colleges.

The package of bills will now be considered by the state Senate.