150 West State Street. Trenton NJ 08608 -- 609-989-1100 office

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Association Staff

Barbara Berreski, JD, MS

Chief Executive Officer

Director, Government & Legal Affairs



Patricia S. Berry

Chief Operating Officer


Pamela J. Hersh

Communications & Public Affairs


Support Staff

Charlene R. Pipher

Executive Assistant/Web Design


Terry Toth

Part-Time Secretarial Assistant


Contact Info

New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities

150 West State Street

Trenton, New Jersey 08608

609-989-1100 office

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Who We Are

New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities - the leading voice for public higher education in New Jersey.

Acting as an advocate in the state capital and throughout the state, the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU) supports the missions and well-being of senior public institutions of higher education.  In cooperation with trustees, students, faculty and campus administrators, NJASCU plays an active role in developing and proposing state higher education policy to better serve New Jersey's citizens.  Its members are the eight senior public institutions of higher education:  The College of New Jersey, Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Stockton University, Thomas Edison State University, and William Paterson University.

Rowan University, which recently assumed the status of a research institution, now is an affiliate member.

Specifically, NJASCU does the following:

  • Analyzes and monitors public policy issues and legislation affecting its member institutions.  Issues include: college access and affordability; higher education finance trends and comparisons; trustee governance, student welfare, ethical standards; unprecedented enrollment demand and the need to increase capacity; addressing the needs of evolving student populations;
  • Collaborates with public institutions on communicating and promoting the distinctive excellence and advantages of New Jersey's senior public institutions of higher education; and
  • Creates educational and public service opportunities for those interested in the success and sustainability of New Jersey's public institutions of higher education.

The Association played a key role in achieving landmark legislation in 1986 and 1994, which transferred important fiscal and administrative authority to the campuses from state government, emphasizing trustee governance and direct public accountability.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey are among the nation's most autonomous public institutions.

NJASCU Analysis of Governor's Proposed
FY 2020 Budget

On March 5, 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his FY 2020 budget address.  The FY 2020 budget totals $38.6 billion, with “more than $2.57 billion in direct support to higher education institutions and for programs that provide financial assistance to students.”  Affordable, accessible, and very high-quality higher education for New Jersey continues to be a top priority for the Murphy Administration.


The Governor is proposing a new Outcomes-Based Funding formula for the four-year public colleges and universities, which includes the “redistribution” of $15 million in current operating aid and an additional $20 million in new funding.  Six million dollars of the FY 2019 “legislative additions and a supplemental allocations” for the higher education public institutions was eliminated.


To access the state appropriations portion of the $2.57 billion, colleges and universities will be required to commit to the Student Bill of Rights, the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, and “other principles in the forthcoming student-centric state plan for higher education.”  These other principles refer to “elements of completion,” i.e., the total number of degrees awarded; the number of degrees awarded to underrepresented minorities; and the percentage of enrolled students, who qualify for need-based funding.  It should be noted that the completion criteria are based on actual numbers NOT graduation rates. 


Specific appropriations figures were unavailable in the preliminary budget document, but Higher Education Secretary Smith-Ellis reached out to each school a few days after the budget address with the proposed appropriation for each institution.  The formal appropriations spread sheet should be accessible within two weeks.  Secretary Smith-Ellis indicated that the colleges and universities will “essentially” retain their FY 2019 state appropriations support, with additional funding being allocated on the basis of the above outlined criteria.


The FY 2020 fringe benefits cost decreased because of savings from the negotiated changes in health benefits.


The Free Community College program is being expanded.  But the Governor now seems willing to go along with a need-based/last-dollar program, rather than a free-for-all, regardless-of-need program.  The Governor is asking for an additional $33.5 million (for a total commitment of $58.5 million) to help approximately 18,000 students obtain a two-year degree at no cost.


Tuition Aid Grants allocation will increase by $5.03 million for a total of $437.9 million.  This money will go for new grants.  Educational Opportunity Program, now in its 50th year, will increase by $2.25 million for a total of $47.572 million to “support the pursuit of higher education for low-income students.”

Read full alert.


Profiles of NJASCU alumni whose work is making a difference in the lives of others.  The website will feature a new profile each month.  Please submit suggestions for profiles to Pam Hersh or call (609) 256-8256.

Dr. Youssef A. Kousa, Kean University, Class of 2007


Kean University Alumnus Makes Breakthrough Genetic Discovery


A Kean University alumnus has made a breakthrough discovery, identifying three genes that could be responsible for two previously unrelated types of congenital disorders – cleft lip and palate, and neural tube defects like spina bifida.

With time and further research, the finding by Dr. Youssef A. Kousa ’05, ’07 M.S. and his collaborators could lead to better prenatal testing for these genetic anomalies.


“It is a very important finding because typically we think of a gene causing a disease, but this discovery shows that a group of genes can cause two congenital birth defects,” he said.  “Rather than trying to find more genes, we can now go back and think about the genes that we have already identified and see if these same genes are contributing to other birth defects as well.”


Dr. Kousa, now a Child Neurology Fellow at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., remembers the “aha moment” nine years ago at Michigan State University, when studying the genetic component for cleft lip and palate in laboratory mice, he recognized the         possible connection to neural tube defects.  Dr. Kousa and research teams across the country then conducted thousands of experiments before proving the discovery.


“I remember thinking, ‘This is a game changer,’” he said.  “I remember saying to myself, ‘This is completely unexpected; this is completely novel; this is completely new.’  We worked together with more and more people to identify what it was and have clarity about why this was happening.”  Kousa earned two degrees from Kean – a B.S. in biology in 2005 and an M.S. in biotechnology in 2007.  He also has a medical degree and PhD from Michigan State University.  He is finishing his fellowship program at Children’s National, on his way to being a pediatric neurologist.  Read more.

Quick Takes (below) are current brief updates on legislative and policy issues being followed by NJASCU

Newark Museum Internship Puts Kean University Senior on Path Toward Arts Leadership 
February 25, 2019

A Kean University art history student is being groomed as a future leader in the art world with a prestigious three-year internship at the Newark Museum.

Senior Jennifer Zuniga, who grew up in Jersey City and now lives in Elizabeth, started her Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative internship in June 2018.  The program exposes college students to the full range of museum departments, paying them while training them in all aspects of the business.

“It’s an understatement to say I’m excited at this opportunity to gain in-depth museum experience while continuing my education at Kean,” said Ms. Zuniga, who is one of six interns in the program at the museum. “I will graduate with three years of experience, which already sets me up with a foot in the door.”

The $6 million initiative is funded by the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation at 20 museums across the country with the goal of diversifying curatorial and management staff. Newark Museum is the only museum in the New York-metropolitan area that is part of the initiative.  Read full story.

Cyber Threat Intelligence Experts to Gather at New Jersey City University for National Security Symposium
February 25, 2018

New Jersey City University (NJCU) will host the Seventh Northeast Regional Security Education Symposium on Friday, March 22, 2019 from 8 am to 2 pm at the NJCU’s School of Business Skyline Room in downtown Jersey City.

The symposium features leading experts in the security industry, along with faculty members, alumni, and students from the NJCU Professional Security Studies Department. The theme this year is Cyber Threat Intelligence in Government and Private Sectors.

“This regional symposium is a particularly valuable opportunity for professionals and NJCU students to network with leading experts in the field,” said Scott Fisher, co-chair of the Professional Security Studies Department. “It is also designed for anyone seeking undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees in the field of national and civil security, and distinguishes our program as a leader in security education.”

“The symposium brings together key players in the cyber security field with students, potential students, alumni and faculty to deliver an unforgettable learning experience,” said Deborah Woo, dean of the College of Professional Studies. “This year’s event revolves around urgent cyber security issues and features a poster session presented by NJCU doctoral candidates.” Read full story.

NJASCU is part of the Innovation NJ Coalition

Innovation NJ is a coalition of busineess and academia established to promote policies that foster an environment for innovation in the state that will: 

  • encourage increased private and public sector R&D and the commercialization of new medicines, technologies and products to improve our quality of life;
  • stimulate economic growth in New Jersey;
  • retain and advance high-paying jobs in the state;
  • retain and advance high-paying innovation-related jobs in the state; and
  • increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related graduates from New Jersey colleges and universities.

Learn more

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