Statement from The New Jersey Council of County Colleges on Rate Increases in the School Health Benefits Plan (SEHBP)
September, 2022, Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is extremely concerned about the impact of the rate increases in the School Employees Health Benefits Plan (SEHBP) that were accepted Monday by the SEHBP Commission by a 5-1 vote.
“The increase will cost community colleges $14 million this year alone. That will consume almost all of the operating aid increases colleges have received in the past 15 years.” said Aaron Fichtner, President of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges.
Community colleges are the largest, and most racially and economically diverse, sector of higher education in New Jersey, with over 200,000 students. Their graduates overwhelmingly stay in New Jersey, and are critical to the state’s workforce and economy. They work closely with industry partners to provide a skilled workforce, and to provide good jobs for New Jerseyans. For example, community colleges train more New Jersey nurses than every other sector of higher education combined. “This is work that builds the middle class,” noted Fichtner.
The Council supports legislation introduced to date that addresses the operation of the SEHBP commission (S3033, sponsored by Majority Leader Ruiz/A4552, sponsored by Assemblywoman Pintor Marin, and S2994, sponsored by Senator Turner) and the bill S2995, also sponsored by Senator Turner, that requires use of federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund grants to reduce increases in premium rates for the SEHBP for calendar year 2023. These are important steps forward.
“The Council looks forward to working with our New Jersey legislators to mitigate the impact of this increase on community colleges and their students, and on finding a sustainable solution.” according to Fichtner.
New Jersey’s 18 agile and innovative Community Colleges are prepared to lead in the response to and recovery from this public health and economic crisis and to secure a brighter future for all New Jerseyans. The New Jersey Council of County Colleges provides statewide leadership for the advancement of New Jersey Community Colleges, performs coordinating responsibilities as required by law, and coordinates statewide efforts to build a skilled workforce and improve student success. We encourage you to visit our website at www.njccc.org.