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Talk could become cheaper on N.J. campuses

This year's college graduates may have an easier time finding a job than previous classes. (Prasit Rodphan/BigStock)

This year's college graduates may have an easier time finding a job than previous classes. (Prasit Rodphan/BigStock)

New Jersey’s Assembly could give final legislative approval Thursday to a measure barring the state’s public colleges from paying more than $10,000 to campus speakers.

In recent years reality TV star Snookie, novelist Toni Morrison, and producer Spike Lee were among those paid more than that for speaking at New Jersey colleges.

Assemblyman John DiMaio said he questions whether that’s the best use of college funds.

“The cost of an education is very expensive now. Many young people are carrying huge debts as they leave school,” said DiMaio, R-Warren. “Perhaps this will be a message to all of the administrations to take a good hard look as to how they’re spending dollars.”

Colleges are spending a lot of money on speakers at a time when many students are struggling to pay their tuition, said Sen. Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson.

“It just seems to me that’s something that we could help our students out with by putting a less amount of money into speakers,” she said.

Peter Guzzo with the Higher Education Leadership Council said college faculty unions support the legislation.

“The council feels that it’s really the responsibility of the university professors to raise appropriate funds for non-academic activities,” he said.

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