September 28, 2001
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310

Commission Discusses Need for Greater State Investment in Higher Education

The Commission on Higher Education today called for increased investment in New Jersey higher education to ensure the state's societal well-being, economic development, and future prosperity.

"Economic growth and prosperity depend on knowledge, technology, and human capital," said James E. Sulton, Jr., executive director of the Commission. "Access to higher education for all segments of the population will bolster New Jersey's ability to fulfill state workforce needs, compete globally, and thrive as a community."

The Commission's FY 2003 draft budget policy statement, slated for adoption in late October, calls for significant funding increases in three priority areas with vast potential to impact and shape the state's future. The first priority is to begin increasing capacity to meet higher education student needs and state workforce demands. The second is to assure access to high quality, timely educational opportunities for all segments of the population. And the third is to promote excellence in prekindergarten to graduate education as well as academic research and development.

Citing the growing demand for higher education, the changing demographics, and the desire for educational opportunity for underrepresented populations, the budget statement calls for a major increased investment in the senior public institutions. Full state support for negotiated salary increases and contractual increments is recommended along with a 3.5 percent increase in operating aid for the 12 institutions. The report indicates the increased funds would begin to move the state closer to the desired two-thirds share of operating costs, reduce the level of tuition increases needed, and begin to impact on affordability, adequate capacity, and overall quality of the institutions.

The budget statement also recommends a continuation of the $12 million annual increases in operating aid for the community colleges to minimize the need for tuition increases and help students complete their degrees expeditiously. An additional $3 million is sought for the independent colleges and universities, recognizing their important role in meeting state higher education needs.

"The FY 2003 budget policy statement reflects both state and national priorities in higher education and calls for significant public resources to address growing needs," said Dr. Sulton. "A conscious effort must be made to afford every individual seeking higher education in New Jersey the chance to participate and excel."

The Commission recommends additional funding to help disadvantaged students succeed in college. An increase of $2.7 million is sought to strengthen campus Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) student services, and $1.5 million is recommended to increase EOF student grants. A $2.1 million increase is proposed to expand precollege programs for middle- and high school students in the Abbott school districts. In addition, the Commission calls on the state to increase funding for Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) and establish a TAG program for part-time students.

Stressing the importance of teacher quality to improving student achievement, the budget statement recommends renewing the competitive Teacher Effectiveness Grants to further enhance successful college and university teacher preparation and professional development programs.

The Commission also requests renewed funding to increase university research capacity in biomedical and other high-tech areas, and an additional $15 million for a third round of High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants, which build on successful programs to meet workforce needs of New Jersey's high-tech industries.

A listing of specific budget priorities for FY 2003 is attached.
# # #

New Jersey Commission on Higher Education
Priority Budget Increases, FY 2003
Institutional Support
Senior Public Colleges and Universities (12) 1
3.5% increase in operating aid$31.4 million
Full funding of salary program (estimated)
(negotiated cost of living increases and increments)
$65 million
Total direct aid increase is approx. 10.5% of FY 2002 appropriation
Capital Maintenance and Renewalto be determined

Community Colleges (19)2$12 million

Independent Colleges and Universities with a public mission (14) 3
Independent College and University Assistance Act$3 million

Student Support
Educational Opportunity Fund
Article IV student support programs: counseling tutoring, academic, career exploration, pre-freshman and other support services
$2.7 million
Article III academic year student grants$1.5 million

College Bound Program
Expansion of program to serve disadvantaged 6th - 12th graders in up to 6 additional Abbott districts
$2.1 million

Tuition Aid Grant Program (TAG)to be determined
Part-Time TAG$11 million

Investment in Excellence
Teacher Effectiveness Grants$3 million
High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants$15 million
Research Capacity Building$10 million

1 - Public research universities: NJIT, Rutgers, and UMDNJ
State colleges and universities: College of NJ, Kean Univ., Montclair State Univ., NJ City Univ., Ramapo College, Richard Stockton College, Rowan Univ., Thomas Edison State College, and William Paterson Univ.

2 - Community Colleges: Atlantic Cape, Bergen, Brookdale, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Raritan Valley, Salem, Sussex, Union, and Warren.

3 - Independent institutions with a public mission: Bloomfield College, Caldwell College, Centenary College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Drew Univ., Fairleigh Dickinson Univ., Felician College, Georgian Court College, Monmouth Univ., Princeton Univ., Rider Univ., Saint Peter's College, Seton Hall Univ., and Stevens Institute of Technology.

NJ Home Page Higher EducationCommission Home Page

The Commission | Reports & Documents | News Releases / Newsletters | EOF & Grant Programs
More Information about NJ Higher Ed

NJEDge - NJ's Colleges & Universities