January 23, 1998
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310
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Blue-Ribbon Task Force Presents Recommendations on the Capacity of New Jersey's Higher Education System to Commission on Higher Education

The Blue-Ribbon Task Force on the Capacity of New Jersey's Higher Education System today presented to the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education its final report and recommendations regarding the size and structure of the higher education system and its capacity to meet the needs of New Jersey and its diverse population.

"The task force's findings are very positive," Joseph D. Williams, chairman of the Blue-Ribbon Task Force, told Commission members at their monthly meeting in Trenton today. "While there are a few unmet needs, we found that New Jersey's higher education system is well placed to meet current and future demand. No new institutions are necessary to meet the needs of students, employers, and the state, and no major changes in the system are warranted."

The task force was specifically charged by the Commission with making recommendations on the establishment, expansion, closure, or consolidation of institutions, in response to a mandate in the Higher Education Restructuring Act of 1994. The Commission will review and discuss the task force's report and recommendations over the next two months, before adopting a final report and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature.

The report presented today indicates that New Jersey's system of 56 public and independent colleges and universities is efficient, as measured by several key indicators:

The report contains eight recommendations the task force believes will help the higher education system better meet the future needs of the state. These recommendations include:

Appointed in January 1997, the nine-member task force considered broad public input regarding the demand for and delivery of higher education programs. Over 80 people testified before the task force at three public hearings held last spring and three additional public hearings held in December following the release of the panel's draft report and recommendations. The task force also met with college presidents and reviewed written comments submitted by more than 200 individuals and organizations.

The Commission on Higher Education adopted a resolution commending Mr. Williams and the members of the Blue-Ribbon Task Force for their comprehensive report and thanking them for their service. The Commission will discuss the report at its February 27 and March 27 meetings; adoption of a final report is tentatively scheduled for March 27.

A summary of the task force's Report and Recommendations on the Capacity of New Jersey's Higher Education System is available here. A copy of the full report may be requested by calling the Commission's office at (609) 292-4310.

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