Governor Signs Law to Enact Stricter Regulations for School Employees Receiving Tuition Assistance

WALL, NJ - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Minority Whip Dave Rible and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini that imposes stringent requirements for school districts to provide their employees with tuition assistance for academic credits or completion of a degree program was signed into law today by Governor Chris Christie.

The legislators introduced the bill in light of reports involving school administrators and staff who were receiving higher education degrees from non-accredited schools or “diploma mills,” for which they received pay raises and tuition reimbursement.

“The Governor signing this bill into law is clear sign that abusing taxpayer dollars to provide raises for phony degrees will no longer be tolerated,” said Rible.  “This law closes the loopholes that exist in the system and will end this practice of giving out taxpayer funded raises for degrees received from unaccredited universities.”

The bill, A-3671/A-3228, provides that certain conditions must be met in order for a board of education to provide its employees with tuition assistance or additional compensation for academic credits or completion of a degree.  For instance, the institution shall be a duly authorized institution of higher education and the employee shall obtain approval from the superintendent of schools prior to enrollment in any course for which tuition assistance is sought.

“This law sends the message that school administrators must adhere to the highest standards in education and as a result will set good examples for students,” said Angelini.  “I am confident this legislation will help ensure that education officials are giving financial rewards only for earning legitimate degrees.”

In the case of a superintendent, the approval shall be obtained from the board of education and the tuition assistance or additional compensation shall be provided only for a course or degree related to the employee’s current or future job responsibilities.