LONG-TERM CAPITAL PLANNING AND SUPPORT
A Blueprint for Excellence, the long-range plan for higher education in New Jersey, identifies strategic goals and objectives to sustain a higher education system that supports individual opportunity and the state’s success in a global economy. The recommendations herein for long-term capital support policies for higher education represent the tactical implementation of one part of that strategic plan.
According to a recent report by James W. Hughes and Joseph J. Seneca, New Jersey is facing unprecedented competition for high-quality economic growth as regional, national, and global forces threaten the state’s position as an economic leader. During the first half of this decade, the state has lost a considerable number of high-paying jobs, and there has been significant erosion in technology-based economic assets. The report points out the critical need for the state to “create and sustain an economic and entrepreneurial environment conducive to the growth of new, high-knowledge-content, high-value-added businesses.” And it calls for long-term, strategic investments in the economic infrastructure, including the colleges and universities, to foster the much-needed high-technology economic development.
Ongoing state capital support for New Jersey’s colleges and universities is essential, because these institutions are fundamental in shaping the state’s future. The campus facilities located across the state must meet the needs of sophisticated and diverse students. They must support the changing needs of the workplace. They must be equipped to facilitate cutting-edge research and the development of knowledge. And they must ensure access, excellence, and affordability across all segments of the population.
As noted in A Blueprint for Excellence, New Jersey stands at a crossroads. A handful of states will separate themselves from the others by harnessing the intellectual power of their colleges and universities to propel their economies forward and to increase the quality of life for all residents. Strategic, ongoing capital investments in higher education are necessary to firmly establish New Jersey among those states.
Principles to Guide State Support for Capital Needs
The following principles are proposed to guide policy development and the allocation of state funds for higher education capital projects.
1. State support for higher education capital projects should be based on a statewide capital plan for higher education that prioritizes New Jersey’s educational and economic development needs and coordinates state support for eligible colleges and universities in the state.
2. State funding for higher education capital needs should be provided within the context of overall need for state support of higher education access, excellence, and affordability, recognizing that enhanced physical capacity has implications for concomitant increased state operating support and increased funding for student financial aid.
3. State support for major capital construction and renovation should require state and institutional commitment to preservation and maintenance of the new/renovated facilities over the long-term and include state and institutional support to eliminate existing deferred maintenance on campuses.
4. State support for higher education capital needs should include coordinated state review and best practices oversight of the use of state funds.
Consistent with these principles, three components are recommended below to constitute a state policy for long-term funding assistance for higher education capital needs.
I. Preservation and Maintenance for Public Institutions
II. Long-Term Financing
III. Recurring Investment to Assist With Renovation and Construction
 “New Jersey’s New Economy Growth Challenges,” Rutgers Regional Report, Issue Paper Number 25, July 2006, by James W. Hughes, Dean, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Joseph J. Seneca, University Professor, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
 Eligible colleges and universities include the public research universities, state colleges and universities, community colleges, and independent institutions eligible for state funds under the Aid to Independent Colleges and Universities Act.