October 27, 2000
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310

Increased Investment in Higher Education Linked to State's Economic Future

The Commission on Higher Education today adopted budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2002, stressing that an increased investment in colleges and universities is essential for New Jersey's future economic competitiveness and societal well-being.

The Commission's budget policy statement recommends strategic investments to assure the state's continued competitiveness and extend prosperity to all of its residents. The Commission calls for increased aid to the state's four-year colleges and universities, expanded programs for disadvantaged students and high-tech research and workforce development, and a new teacher preparation initiative.

"Given the economy's escalating dependence on advanced knowledge and technology and higher education's pivotal role in preparing the next generation of workers, citizens, and leaders, now is the time to make a significant investment in our state's future," said Commission Chairman Al Koeppe.

The Commission recommends an additional $87 million for the state's three public research universities and the nine state colleges and universities - a four percent increase in operating aid as well as full support of negotiated salary increases and contractual increments for these institutions. The proposed increase will help these institutions meet the challenges of the future without large tuition hikes to cover increasing costs.

The Commission recommends a $3 million increase for the state's independent colleges and universities, which contribute significantly to access, diversity, and economic well-being. The budget statement also calls for a continued commitment to the community colleges.

To keep higher education affordable and close the gap between those who have economic opportunities and those who do not, the Commission calls for additional funding to help disadvantaged students succeed in college. The Commission seeks 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.

In addition, the Commission recommends that New Jersey maintain its position as a national leader in need-based student aid by increasing Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) to maximum current year tuition levels and extending the program to economically disadvantaged part-time students.

New Jersey faces significant demand for new teachers, and the Commission, in cooperation with the Department of Education (DOE) and institutional representatives, developed an innovative package to address those demands. The first component will expand the state's capacity to produce highly effective teachers who can equip all students with a higher level of skills. The recommended $10 million investment will help public and independent colleges and universities with teacher preparation programs move teacher education to the top of their institutional agendas and heighten involvement of arts and sciences faculty. It will also build program capacity, link programs with P-12 core curriculum content standards, and expand collaboration with elementary and secondary schools. Ongoing support is recommended for additional faculty positions created at the public institutions through this initiative. Two related proposals, to be administered by the Department of Education, will address teacher recruitment and professional development.

Recognizing that academic research and high-tech programs are fundamental to economic growth and workforce development, the Commission seeks funding to build on the success of two higher education initiatives launched this year under Governor Whitman's New Jersey Jobs for the New Economy program. The Commission recommends a minimum of $15 million for a second round of High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants to address the current and future workforce needs of key New Jersey industries by building on strong programs in select science and technology disciplines. It also seeks a minimum of $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.

A listing of specific budget priorities for FY 2002 is attached.

Click to view the full text of the Commission's budget policy statement for FY 2002
and the supporting document, Higher Education: Meeting Challenges of the Future.

# # #

General Operating Support
Senior Public Colleges and Universities (12)1
4% increase in operating aid
Full funding of salary program (estimated)

$87 million
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
Article IV student support programs: counseling, tutoring, academic, career exploration, pre-freshman and other support services

$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
Maximum current year tuition levels (full-time students)
Part-time TAG

to be determined
$9.8 - $11 million
Investment in Excellence
Teacher Preparation and Development
Teacher preparation initiative
DOE recruitment and professional development programs

$10 million
to be determined
High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants
Second round of competitive grants

$15 million
University Research
Continued investment to build research capacity and attract grant funding in biomedical and other high-tech areas
$10 million

1 Public research universitites: 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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