September 22, 2000
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310

Commission Considers Increased Investment in New Jersey Higher Education

The Commission on Higher Education today called for greater state investment in New Jersey's colleges and universities, stressing higher education's pivotal role in addressing the economic and social challenges facing the state in the new century.

"Within the state and around the world, economic growth and prosperity depend on knowledge, technology, and human capital," said Al Koeppe, chairman of the Commission. "As the demand for higher education and advanced skills increases, New Jersey's colleges and universities fuel the state's economy and are integral to its future health and well-being."

The draft budget policy statement for FY 2002, slated for adoption in late October, focuses on the strategic investments that will assure the state's continued competitiveness and extend prosperity to all of its residents. The Commission calls for a new teacher preparation initiative and increased funding in several priority areas, including aid for four-year public colleges and universities as well as independent institutions, support programs for disadvantaged students, and high-tech research and workforce development.

In light of growing demands for higher education, the economy's escalating dependence on advanced knowledge and technology, and New Jersey's longstanding commitment to access and affordability, now is the time to significantly increase the state's share of operating costs for the senior public institutions, the budget statement says. The Commission recommends a four percent increase in operating aid for the state's three public research universities and the nine state colleges and universities. The state's coordinating body for higher education also calls for full support of negotiated salary increases and contractual increments for these institutions.

"Increased funding for community colleges in each of the past three years has held tuition increases in check and helped students complete their degrees expeditiously. Making a similar commitment to the four-year colleges will help keep them strong and responsive to workforce and societal needs, without relying on students to pay an increasing share of costs," said James E. Sulton, Jr., the Commission's executive director.

The Commission's budget statement also recommends increased funding for the state's independent colleges and universities, which contribute significantly to access, diversity, and economic well-being, as well as a continued commitment to the community colleges.

To keep higher education affordable and extend opportunities to all New Jerseyans, the Commission is recommending additional funding to help disadvantaged students succeed in college. The Commission will seek an additional $1.5 million for Educational Opportunity Fund campus-based support programs and $2.1 million to expand precollege programs for middle- and high-school students in the Abbott school districts. As in previous years, the Commission is calling upon the state to continue the strong commitment that has made New Jersey a national leader in need-based student aid programs.

"While New Jersey's citizenry is highly educated, we must make special efforts to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve and prosper," said Mr. Koeppe, who is also the president and chief operating officer of Public Service Electric and Gas Co. in Newark. "This is particularly true at the elementary and secondary level, where teacher quality is inextricably linked to student achievement and, ultimately, to economic prosperity."

Higher education plays the leading role in teacher preparation and professional development, and the Commission is recommending a new initiative to expand the state's capacity to produce highly effective teachers. Like many other states, New Jersey faces a significant demand for new teachers who must be well prepared to equip all students with a higher level of skills to master curriculum content standards and succeed in college and beyond.

Recognizing that academic research and technology-related academic programs are instrumental in creating new jobs, spawning new industries, and improving productivity, the Commission's budget statement also requests additional funding to continue two initiatives launched this year as part of Governor Whitman's New Jersey Jobs for the New Economy initiative. The Commission seeks $10 million to increase university research capacity in biomedical and other high-tech areas and attract more federal and corporate research grants to New Jersey. The panel also recommends an additional $15 million for a second round of High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants that build on strong programs in select disciplines to address the current and future workforce needs of key New Jersey industries.

A listing of specific budget priorities for FY 2002 follows.

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NOTE: The full text of the Commission's draft budget policy statement for FY 2002 and the supporting document, Higher Education: Meeting Challenges of the Future, are available on the Commission's website at

New Jersey Commission on Higher Education
Priority Budget Recommendations
FY 2002

General Operating Support
Senior Public Colleges and Universities (12) 1
4% increase in operating aid$35 million
Full funding of salary program (estimated)
(negotiated cost of living increases and increments)
$53 million
Total direct aid increase is approx. 10% of FY 2001 appropriation

Community Colleges (19)2
Operating Aid

$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 $1.5 million
Article IV student support programs: counseling, tutoring, academic,
career exploration, pre-freshman and other support services
College Bound Program$2.1 million
Expansion of program to serve disadvantaged 6th -12th graders in
up to 6 additional Abbott districts
Tuition Aid Grant Program (TAG)

to be determined
Investment in Excellence
Teacher Preparation Initiative to be determined
High Tech Workforce Excellence Grants $15 million
Second round of grants to institutions
University Research$10 million
Continued investment to build research capacity and attract grant
funding in biomedical and other high-tech areas

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/ county 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 St. Elizabeth, Drew Univ., Fairleigh Dickinson Univ., Felician College, Georgian Court College, Monmouth Univ.,
Princeton Univ., Rider Univ., Saint Peter's College, Seton Hall Univ., Stevens Institute of Technology.

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