Fighting to hold the line on college costs
"One of the priorities of this administration over the past four years has been to invest in higher education to try and make it more affordable," Christie said.
The governor pointed out that for 25 years New Jersey had not invested in expanding classrooms, labs and other space in public and private colleges. The "Building Our Future Bond Act" was passed two years ago, authorizing $750 million in borrowing to help expand the state's colleges and universities.
Christie also said the state is investing about $1.2 billion over the next five years for things like classrooms and laboratories. The funding, Christie said, allows higher education institutions to expand without having to rely solely on tuition hikes to cover the costs.
"Our investment now I think is going to stabilize tuition over the next four to five years because public colleges and private colleges and universities are not going to have to borrow 80 to 90 percent of the cost of that," Christie said. "That's going to help be able to not have to spend nearly as much. If they don't have to spend nearly as much, they don't have to charge you nearly as much."
The governor said it took him several years to pay the debt he accumulated from college and law school. This, he said, was hard, but he looks at is as an investment in himself.
Christie said it will be challenging to increase funding levels for higher education. "It's one of the essential services that we think a state needs to provide to its citizens - is the opportunity for their children to be able to get a high-class education, both in our public and private schools."