About the Governor's Higher Education Task Force Report and Recommendations
The New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities strongly endorses the report, recognizing that certain issues surrounding graduate medical/nursing education deserve further study. The Association supports timely implementation of the recommendations and advocates the following principles in support of the report.
The report concludes that ...
Higher education's accountability and transparency can be increased by enabling institutions to better control their costs, and that this can be done by eliminating state regulatory red tape and ending the practice of unfunded mandates.
Fact: State mandates cost state colleges millions of dollars each year.
The State of New Jersey needs to make an investment in higher education facilities, through bond issues or other mechanisms and provide annual support, to preserve assets and expand capacity. In addition, the state needs to invest in college operations, through rational appropriations and Challenge Grants, to meet statewide goals.
Fact: There has not been a general obligation bond issue for higher education facilities construction since the voters were last asked to approve one: in 1988! Meanwhile, college budgets have been cut several times over the past ten years and there has been no annual state funding to help colleges keep their facilities since FY 1999.
College opportunity should be protected by targeting financial aid toward those most in need, such as expanding the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program and better designing merit aid to retain the state's best and brightest students and give such students choice among institutions.
Fact: New Jersey has one of the nation's top need-based grant aid programs, but with state funding cutbacks and high demand, dollars are being rationed (fewer dollars available to help each student) and are not keeping up with actual college costs.
Academic quality can be improved by challenging institutions to identify peer institutions, compare relevant metrics regarding mission, and publish the results, and encouraging collaboration among institutions to meet New Jersey's needs.
Fact: State colleges and universities are already saving millions of dollars through collaborative efforts with other institutions.
Accountability for college costs can be increased by giving state colleges and universities authority over labor contract negotiations and providing state colleges and universities relief from civil service regulations.
Fact: All other New Jersey public colleges and universities do their own labor contract negotiations, and they are already free of civil service regulation -- and no one at these institutions -- neither labor not management -- is asking to be treated the way the nine state colleges and universities currently are!
To access Governor's Higher Education Task Force Report, visit here.