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 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.
NJ ASSEMBLYWOMAN VERLINA REYNOLDS-JACKSON, TCNJ Alumna, Class of 1994
NJ Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson’s (D-15) official bio seems to indicate a smooth journey towards her pursuit of a career in public service. After graduating from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), class of 1994, with a degree in sociology, Ms. Reynolds-Jackson went on to get a master’s degree from Central Michigan University in administration. Then she embarked upon a very successful career in government and politics that included serving as the first African-American Councilwoman for the East Ward in Trenton, New Jersey from July 2010 to February 2018.
The Assemblywoman was appointed to her NJ State Assembly seat in February 2018 to replace Elizabeth Muoio, who now is the state treasurer. She serves constituents in her immediate neighborhood of Wilbur Section Districts 1 & 2 in Trenton – and her larger neighborhood that incorporates the entire 15th New Jersey Legislative District, which includes parts of Hunterdon and Mercer counties, including Trenton and some of the surrounding suburbs.
Her career path may look fairly straightforward on paper, but in reality, her life has been marked by challenges that have strengthened her resolve to serve her community, while enhancing her empathy and responsiveness to the needs of others. Asw. Reynolds-Jackson defines success not by how much money one makes, but by how much one is doing for others.
The native of Trenton and graduate of Trenton Central High School, Ms. Reynolds-Jackson attended The College of New Jersey as an Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) student, which she refers to as “a program that truly was responsible for changing the trajectory of my life.” The New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) was created by law in 1968 to ensure meaningful access to higher education for those who come from backgrounds of economic and educational disadvantage. EOF assists low-income New Jersey residents who are capable and motivated, but lack adequate preparation for college study. EOF is distinctive in the comprehensiveness of its approach. It provides supplemental financial aid to help cover college costs such as books, fees, room and board, that are not covered by the state’s Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) program. EOF, whose funding was increased by $1.5 million in the FY 2019 state budget, supports a wide array of campus-based outreach and support services at 28 public and 13 independent institutions. Read more.
Quick Takes (below) are current brief updates on legislative and policy issues being followed by NJASCU
Thomas Edison State University Partners with Augusta Technical College, Georgia
November 8, 2018
Program Offers ATC Students an Affordable Flexible Pathway to a Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity
The School of Applied Sciences and Technology at Thomas Edison State University (TESU) has partnered with Augusta Technical College (ATC), a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, to create an affordable and seamless pathway for ATC students seeking a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the IT/information security analyst fields are expected to grow 28 percent through 2026 (much faster than average) with bachelor’s-prepared practitioners earning a median annual wage of $95,510. Employer demand is expected to persist due to the need for a highly-skilled workforce to protect the nation’s critical cyber infrastructure and information assets against continually evolving threats. The partnership between TESU and ATC would help in educating more bachelor’s-prepared cybersecurity professionals so that they can respond to this critical need. Read more.
November 7, 2018
The lifelong psychological toll of the Holocaust on children who lived in hiding to avoid capture by the Nazis was recounted in emotional detail on November 5, 2018 at Kean University by Albert Hepner, one of those “hidden children.”
Professor Hepner, the author of Avrumele: Recollections of a Hidden Child, and a Kean adjunct ESL professor, was the featured speaker at the Holocaust Resource Center’s commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass.” That name reflects the night when Nazi anti-Semitic policies triggered violence in 1938 and nearly 100 German Jews were killed. Mr. Hepner lived in hiding in Brussels, separated from his family, from the ages of five to 10.
“In many ways, I remain a hidden person,” he said, recalling that the experience forced him to deny who he was. “I was scared the entire time. Everybody was a stranger, and there was no hope ahead.”
Mr. Hepner described a fractured relationship with his mother, whom he didn’t see at all for two of his years in hiding, and who waved him away from her window once, when he ran to her scared in the middle of the night. Meeting with other hidden children in 1991 helped heal many of his emotional scars, he said.
The Kean commemoration came about a week after the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, in which 11 Jews were murdered as they worshipped at their synagogue. Read more.
The College of New Jersey Launches “Trenton Roots” Exhibit in Trenton Hall
October 29, 2018
On Friday, October 26, The College of New Jersey unveiled a new exhibit entitled “Our Trenton Roots” in the lobby of Trenton Hall.
The display, which explores the history of the college from its beginning in the city of Trenton until present day, was conceived, designed, written, and constructed by TCNJ students and faculty from the history and interactive multimedia departments.
“Our Trenton Roots” is one of several recommendations from the TCNJ Advisory Commission on Social Justice, which aims to increase the awareness of, and engagement with, the cities of Trenton and Ewing among TCNJ students. Read more here.
Stockton University to Host Acclaimed Annual Conference on Diversity in Higher Education
October 29, 2018
Stockton University will host the American Conference on Diversity’s 2018 Diversity Issues in Higher Education Conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. November 16 in the Campus Center. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.
This year’s theme is Diversity and Inclusion: Life and Death Matters. Keynote speaker is vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Hackensack Meridian Health, Wayne Boatwright. Mr. Boatwright leads the company’s diversity initiative for 16 hospitals.
After the keynote is delivered, there will be a keynote response panel with audience question and answer: The five panelists will be the State of New Jersey’s first Chief Diversity Officer Hester Agudosi, Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, Safe Schools Coordinator at Garden State Equity Tyree Oredein, Founder of Emerging You Coaching and Healing Suzy Domenick, and Stockton Associate Professor of Health Science Amee Shah. Read more here.
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.