September 24, 1999
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310

New Jersey Higher Education Garners Host of Federal Grants

The summer of 1999 was an exciting one for New Jersey's higher education community. The Commission on Higher Education and numerous colleges and universities throughout the state brought in almost $50 million in new federal grants to address college readiness, K-12 teacher preparation, math and science education, urban revitalization, and several other state priorities.

"Months of rigorous preparation have paid off handsomely for New Jersey and its institutions," James E. Sulton, Jr., executive director of the Commission on Higher Education, said at the Commission's monthly meeting in Trenton. "These new federal grants will enable our institutions to enhance the quality and scope of programs in critical areas in order to better meet the needs of New Jersey and its citizens."

Seven New Jersey colleges and universities across all sectors won a total of nine grants from the U.S. Department of Education under new programs to improve teacher quality, recruitment, and preparation.

Kean University was one of two institutions nationwide to win awards in all three of the new teacher preparation grant competitions. The university is the lead institution in a $1.6 million Teacher Quality Enhancement Program Partnership Grant that will align teacher training with the state's new core curriculum standards, require all teacher candidates to complete at least 12 credits of math and science and an intensified clinical experience, and increase the focus on using technology in the classroom. Partners in the grant include William Paterson and Rowan universities, 10 local school districts, corporations and a statewide parent organization.

Kean and Montclair State University were among 28 institutions nationwide to win teacher recruitment grants to attract new students to the teaching profession and reduce shortages and teacher turnover. Kean's $457,000 grant will focus on recruiting minority teachers and those with expertise in high-need areas such as early childhood education, world languages, math, science, and special education. Montclair's $288,000 grant will be used to recruit math and science secondary teachers, especially minority candidates, to work in high-need local districts.

Six New Jersey colleges and universities won grants in the third related competition, Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PTTT). Seton Hall University won a three-year $1 million implementation grant to improve teacher education programs to ensure well-prepared, technology-proficient educators. Kean, Georgian Court College, Gloucester County College, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and Rutgers University all won one-year capacity building grants given to help consortia of higher education institutions, school districts, and others develop the groundwork for innovative teacher preparation program improvement. Seton Hall also won a three-year $280,000 grant from the USDOE Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education to offer computer training to disadvantaged urban youth and an adult family member, and encourage them to enter careers in business and technology.

Rutgers University was awarded $992,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for efforts to create educational partnerships that support a learning community in science and math. The NSF also awarded a $400,000 grant to The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey for a program to infuse mathematical principles into other fields of study, and a $307,000 grant to Monmouth University to establish a multi-institutional, online learning environment for physical chemistry students.

Passaic County Community College won a five-year $1.9 million grant from the USDOE under the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. Passaic will focus on increasing student achievement and persistence through development programs, and improving enrollment and student support services. The college also won one of 14 grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to institutions with large Hispanic enrollments to help rehabilitate low-income neighborhoods near their campuses.

Rowan University won a similar HUD grant for nearly $400,000 to work with community organizations to enhance economic development and childcare, family literacy, and health/wellness services in Camden.

In the area of advanced scientific research, the University of Medicine and Dentistry got the largest grant in its history this summer - $22.3 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead a nationwide study that will evaluate the effectiveness of two stroke prevention procedures. New Jersey Institute of Technology won six grants from the NSF in August, most notably $300,000 to study neural mechanisms for generating temporal coding and $210,000 for a PC-based system to solve highly sophisticated computations. And Rider University received $107,044 from NIH for cancer research. In addition to these individual grant awards, the Commission and six institutions were awarded a five-year $10 million GEAR UP state grant to improve the academic achievement and college readiness of youngsters in Camden, Jersey City, Newark, and Trenton.

The NJ GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) state project will build on existing state-funded College Bound programs at Mercer County Community College, New Jersey City University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Rutgers - Newark, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The programs will provide students at 17 middle- and high schools with after school and Saturday tutoring, summer programs, mentoring, counseling, and college visits to encourage them to pursue undergraduate education. In addition to early intervention, the project will have a strong scholarship component.

Other partners in the GEAR UP state project include the state Department of Education, the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, and the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund. In addition to the state project, Rutgers - Camden, New Jersey Institute of Technology's Center for Pre-college Programs, and Bergen Community College and the Englewood Public Schools also won grants through a separate partnership grant competition.

In addition, Montclair State, NJIT, and Rutgers all won new grants through the federal Upward Bound program. NJIT also received funding through the McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

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