New Jersey's Growing Capacity Crisis
As predicted ... enrollment demands exceeds capacity
Student demand for a full-time, residential experience at one of New Jersey's eight traditional state colleges and universities is higher than ever before.
Applications for the fall 2012 full-time freshman class reached an unprecedented level: 61,000.
There is strong demand for student housing despite new construction. Currently, there are over 22,000 students living on campus at the eight residential schools, up from about 17,000 a decade ago.
Graduate enrollment in fall 2012 was about 14,000 students.
Meanwhile, Thomas Edison State College continues to grow to meet the needs of mature students who want to obtain a baccalaureate or master's degree on a part-time basis. The institution now serves over 19,000 undergraduates.
ASCU officials emphasize that demand is likely to continue to remain strong in the area of full-time, residential undergraduate education.
The Public Favors Expansion of Opportunity
Since 1999, the Association has been sponsoring public opinion polls to research the direction and strength of public opinion about expanding the capacity of colleges in New Jersey in order to serve more students. The results are consistent. Time and again residents and likely voters have shown that they favor, and strongly favor, expansion of opportunity and facilities at New Jersey colleges and universities. Responses to an array of questions indicate New Jersey residents "connect" increased capacity with access to affordable colleges and universities and have been willing to support a major public investment, such as a higher education facilities bond, even at a time of state budgetary stress.
All polls were based on scientific, random sampling of New Jersey adults and conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Washington, DC.
Consequences of Underdeveloped Capacity
Since 1961, New Jersey has worried about the exodus of high school graduates to colleges in other states and the inability to educate more of its college bound students. In the late 1960s, the state took major steps to address the problem but since then, nothing significant has been done -- despite some dismal statistics. The numbers which follow tell the story best.
By the Numbers
|1||New Jersey's rank among the states in annual net out-migration of high school graduates to attend college. (Source: US Department of Education)|
Times more likely
science and engineering
graduates are the first
work in the state where
they attended both high
school and college.
|46||New Jersey's rank among the states in four-year public college/university enrollment capacity on a per capita basis. (Source: ASCU calculations - based on data from the US Consensus Bureau and the US Department of Education)|
|30,000||Annual net loss of college-bound students caused by high out-migration of New Jersey high school graduates (and limited in-migration of other states' high school graduates.)|
What the state can do in partnership with the institutions and others
Lead the nation in making higher education a top priority for strategic development.
Broaden college opportunity by de-mystifying college funding, and investing in innovative student aid programs and new incentives for colleges to meet state needs.
Invest regularly in first-rate facilities and technology, and stronger partnerships with schools and businesses.