Nine Strong for a Stronger New Jersey

Photo: Mike Peters

President Susan A. Cole addresses state legislators as Student Government Association President Ronald Chicken listens.

Underscoring the collective value and critical role of state colleges and universities, President Susan A. Cole joined fellow state college and university presidents to launch a major statewide campaign, “Nine Strong for a Stronger New Jersey,” in September. The campaign is aimed at raising state legislator and public awareness of the importance of these institutions to New Jersey so that state funding will not be cut.

The nine institutions, all members of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU), are Montclair State University, The College of New Jersey, Kean University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Richard Stockton College, Rowan University, Thomas Edison State College, and William Paterson University.

These nine institutions enroll nearly one-half of all students who attend a four-year college or university in New Jersey. However, because of the lack of state funding, the institutions have had to steadily increase tuition and fees over the years, which has contributed to the problem of high school students leaving the state to attend college. New Jersey leads the nation in this “out-migration” of students by a wide margin.

“We are so beyond the norm in this matter,” said President Cole. “What that constitutes is 26,000 people a year, year after year, leaving this state. That’s our future workforce, that’s our future tax-paying population, that’s New Jersey’s future economic health.”

NJASCU member institutions are urging everyone to aid their cause by joining the New Jersey College Promise Action Network at www.njcollegepromise.com.