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.

Lawmakers Discuss Initiative to Make Higher Education More Affordable for Students and Ensure the State is Closing the Racial Equity Gap in Postsecondary Education 

Lawmakers from the NJ State Assembly and Senate committees on Higher Education met in a joint session in Trenton on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, to discuss an initiative to make higher education more affordable for students and ensure the state is working toward closing the racial equity gap in postsecondary education.  As acknowledged by NJ Association of State Colleges and Universities for many years, New Jersey colleges and universities have long been running on a flawed state funding system that fails to incentivize student achievement and funds the public institutions in an inequitable way.  The solution, according to New Jersey’s higher education leaders is a new strategic funding plan tied to student outcomes.


“For a long time, we haven’t been funding higher education very well here in the state and every institution has had to go off on their own.  Some are doing well, others are not doing well, and in the end our students suffer,” Assemblywoman and Committee Chair Mila Jasey (D-Essex) said.  “I believe we are going to get a strategic plan that looks at the entire landscape and begins to address some of these issues like access, equity, attainment, completion and also cost.”


New Jersey already has a longstanding goal of “65 by ‘25” – meaning 65 percent of working New Jerseyans to attain a postsecondary degree or certification by 2025 – but lacks a meaningful roadmap and the appropriate resources to get there from the current count of 50.2 percent of workers with such a degree.


Indeed, state funding of New Jersey state colleges and universities is based exclusively on how much funding they’ve received in the past and that amount has decreased more than 28 percent over the past 12 years.  More dramatically stated, the NJ State appropriations to NJ public colleges and universities per full-time equivalent student has decreased by 40.1 percent between FY1991 and FY2016.  During this same period enrollment has increased by 63.2 percent.


Exacerbating the problem, students are coming out with more debt.  According to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, average in-state tuition among New Jersey’s senior public four-year institutions for the academic year 2016-2017 was $13,560 and the average cumulative student loan (borrowed by graduates) was $28,245.  Read more here.


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.

Marisa Chiorello, The College of New Jersey, Class of 2015


Five-year-old Ella is too young to enroll in The College of New Jersey, but she has a special relationship with the school.  One might say she owes her existence to TCNJ’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.


Children’s author Marisa Chiorello, a TCNJ alumna, class of 2015, now living in Hamilton Township, said that TCNJ gave her the knowledge, skills and courage to write her first book titled Ella, and subtitled How a sad girl learns she’s perfect just the way she is.  With a BA in English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies, she benefitted from the support and mentorship of the English and Gender Studies faculty, plus the “instructive and thought-provoking” coursework.


The character of Ella, the book’s heroine, however, is the product of Marisa’s life experiences and creativity.  As described in the book, “Ella looked much different than her friends.  She had curly hair, green eyes, tan skin, and a big tummy.  Can she be perfect just the way she is?  The lesson of the story is that, Ella – a sad girl – learns how to be joyful just the way she is, without reinventing herself into someone she is not.”  Ella’s journey reflects what Marisa experienced as a young woman, who flirted with eating disorders and an obsession to look like a Barbie Doll in order to conform to the fashion magazine representation of healthy.


In her quest to be “beautiful,” said Marisa, “I lost something quite valuable – myself.  In college, I decided to major in Women’s and Gender Studies …. (In one of the classes), I learned all about girls’ body image.  I read Future Girl:  Young Women in the Twenty-First Century by Anita Harris.  Ms. Harris writes about the ‘can-do’ girl, the fashion magazine model to whom girls are exposed.


“We are ‘taught’ that we must have this specific appearance to be the ‘can-do’ girl.  She is beauty.  She is success.  If we don’t look exactly like her, we are failures.  Or so I thought.” Read more.

See our previous alumni profiles here.

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

Thomas Edison State University Foundation to Offer Tuition Assistance for Coast Guard Members Affected by Government Shutdown
January 15, 2019

Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University (TESU), announced today that, despite the suspension of federal tuition assistance caused by the partial government shutdown, Coast Guard students will be able to remain enrolled in TESU courses. The University’s Foundation is stepping in to help enrolled Coast Guard students by deferring their tuition until their tuition assistance is once again available.

“TESU has always stood by our military students and we stand with our Coast Guard students today in their time of need,” Dr. Hancock said. “I’m delighted but not surprised by the generosity of the TESU Foundation Board in its support of our students. These Coast Guard members are facing serious hardships through no fault of their own. We would like to give them peace of mind when it comes to their education.” Read more.

School of Applied Science and Technology at Thomas Edison State University Launches Journal of Women and Minorities in Technology 
January 10, 2019

The School of Applied Science and Technology at Thomas Edison State University is launching the Journal of Women and Minorities in Technology, an open access journal that provides quality peer-reviewed articles written by academics and professionals in the fields of aviation, nuclear technology, cyber-security and information technology. The authors are interested in providing both technical and soft-skills information needed to perform successfully in the field of technology, with a special emphasis on women and minorities.

“There is a high demand for individuals skilled in these specific technologies, and a low number of women and minorities currently working in these areas,” said Dr. Tanis Stewart, assistant dean, School of Applied Science and Technology. “The Journal of Women and Minorities in Technology will offer a platform to increase those numbers by providing information and guidance on gaining the knowledge and experience needed to work in these challenging technological fields.”

Manuscripts should be original, previously unpublished papers, which are not under consideration for publication to any other journal. For more information about submitting articles to the quarterly publication or for other questions, please email jwmt@tesu.edu

NJCU Will Institute Test-Optional Admissions Policy Beginning with Fall 2020 Class 
January 2, 2019

New Jersey City University (NJCU) will be implementing test-optional admissions policy starting with its Fall 2020 class.

NJCU’s test-optional policy will allow students to succeed within their intended programs of study and advances a principle component of the University’s mission that is to provide a diverse population with an excellent education.

NJCU’s Application Process

During the University’s review of applications, a holistic and independent approach is taken for each applicant with a focus on high school performance and achievements.

The University ensures that students have completed required college-preparatory work:

• English (4 units): composition, literature
• Mathematics (3 units): algebra I, geometry, algebra II
• Science (3 units): biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, anatomy/physiology
• At least two of the above MUST be lab sciences
• Social Science (3 units): American history, world history, political science
• Foreign Language (2 units): These should be of the same language.

In exceptional cases, the Office of Admissions may waive certain unit requirements when the quality of the applicant’s overall record shows promise of success in college-level study.

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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