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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NJASCU News and Notes

No Surprise
May 22, 2018

The latest state tax-collection figures were unveiled by Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration yesterday, and they did nothing to help end a simmering disagreement between legislative leaders and the governor over taxes and the next state budget.

Lawmakers who had been holding out hope that April income-tax collections would surge well above projections instead heard state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio deliver a revenue update that indicated tax collections are tracking very closely to the latest projections with just weeks left in the current fiscal year.  Read more.

State Budget Projections Dip $45 Million
May 21, 2018

New Jersey’s budget for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, according to the Office of Legislative Services, were a combined $45 million less than what they projected in April.

That’s less than 0.1 percent of New Jersey’s $35 billion budget.

Said Assemblywoman Eliana Pinto Marin, D-29th District, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee: “It’s a good and a bad thing. The good thing is that we’re pretty much on target. The bad thing is that we were hoping to raise a little bit more when we started to see the January numbers.”

The news by OLS come less than two weeks after two modestly downbeat pieces of news out of Trenton: State income tax receipts were off $23.1 million, or 1 percent, a $2.3 billion in fiscal 2017, and consensus estimates suggest newly legalized sports-betting industry may produce upward of $20 million or so in new state revenue – a bit less than some had imagined.  Read more.

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.

PROSPER ACT Falls Short of Being Prosperous for Anybody – Makes College More Expensive and Less Accessible 
Mildred Garcia & Peter McPherson
May 22, 2018

As you know, the summer is fast approaching and Congress is working to finish pending legislative matters before its month-long recess in August. One matter of particular importance to all of us is the PROSPER Act, the Education and the Workforce Committee’s bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Procedurally, the PROSPER Act has already moved through the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on a party-line vote, and awaits a vote by the full House of Representatives.

We expect this bill may reach the House Floor as early as next month, so I am bringing to your attention an opinion piece I co-authored with APLU President Peter McPherson that appeared earlier today in The Hill, a Capitol Hill-based political daily. Our commentary describes how the PROSPER Act would create problems for students and families as well as our institutions.Read more here.

NJASCU Supports Comprehensive Plan for Higher Education; Unable to Support Bachelor’s Degree Programs at County Colleges 
May 10, 2014

As stated consistently and unanimously by New Jersey’s higher education leaders, New Jersey needs a comprehensive plan for higher education that would facilitate all sectors working together within the parameters of their respective mission to best serve students in New Jersey.  In the absence of such a plan, New Jersey’s state colleges and universities are unable to support this legislation (S-2535).  Initiating the mission change for county colleges as proposed in this legislation could have the unintended consequence of hurting rather than helping students in New Jersey

  • The cost of tuition and fees at county colleges would increase as bachelor's-degree programs are more expensive to offer than associate's-degree programs.  The county colleges are likely to require significant investment in infrastructure, technology and equipment, as well as increases in the number and qualifications of faculty.  This will lead to increased costs to students, their families and to taxpayers.  For county governments, the bill would create an unfunded mandate, with a significant implication for property taxes.  As for the county college, this bill will increase tuition and fees for ALL of its students since the infrastructure to support baccalaureate programs is an institution-wide obligation.  The State will likewise encounter an increase in pressure to provide additional resources to meet its obligation to fund the growing county college burden.
  • The bill fails to specify how the determination will be made regarding which fields are experiencing or are predicted to experience a critical labor shortage.  If this determination is inaccurate, the students in these programs might find themselves with a degree in a highly specialized field of study for which there are few jobs.  Moreover, once a determination is made, it is simply unsustainable to expect all county colleges to "ramp up" to establish and maintain the corresponding program, then "wind down" when the critical need is met.
  • The financial stability and future growth of our senior public institutions may be undermined, since the decisions regarding new construction of housing, laboratories, and research facilities, and the corresponding creation of jobs at these institutions are based in part on their enrollment numbers over the course of a bachelor's degree.

Read more.


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 State Assemblyman Jamel C. Holley (District 20), New Jersey City University, Class of 2002; Kean University, Class of 2006

“The first,” “the youngest,” “the most” are superlatives defining New Jersey State Assemblyman Jamel C. Holley, a New Jersey City University undergraduate alumnus and Kean University graduate alumnus. His goal is to embrace a public service career that would be defined by yet another superlative – “the best,” specifically “the best” at helping others.

In 2002, Jamel earned his B.S. in criminal justice from New Jersey City University (NJCU) and followed that in 2006 with an M.A. in public administration from Kean University. He was the first in his family to go to college.

In 2001, before he even finished NJCU, Mr. Holley was appointed by New Jersey’s deputy majority leader to serve as chief of staff. That appointment earned him as the youngest chief of staff in the State of New Jersey for any of New Jersey’s 120 Legislators.

On November 2, 2004, Mr. Holley at the age of 25 won the seat of councilman in the Borough of Roselle, and, by doing so, he earned the designation as the youngest councilman in Union County. In November 2011, Mr. Holley became Mayor Holley, and became the youngest mayor ever elected in Roselle’s 117-year history.

Most recently, in January 2015, Assemblyman Holley was appointed to fill a seat in the New Jersey General Assembly representing the 20th Legislative District (including the municipalities of Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle, Union). By doing so, Mr. Holley became the first African-American to represent the 20th Legislative District in the New Jersey State Legislature.

Assemblyman Holley describes himself as a most passionate supporter of New Jersey’s public education system (K-16), because he never would have acquired all the professional superlatives without “the amazing educational support.”   Read more.

See our previous alumni profiles here.

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

New Jersey City University (NJCU) Receives Grant to Address Tobacco Use on Campus

May 23, 2018

NJCU announced its plan to join a national movement to address smoking and tobacco use at college campuses throughout the United States. NJCU will ask students, faculty and administration to support the adoption of a 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free policy.

Over the next 17 months, NJCU will engage the campus community to address tobacco use. A taskforce will be formed to oversee the project, assess tobacco use behavior and attitudes, identify a treatment plan for current smokers and develop a policy. Two students will develop and lead educational efforts to build a movement to become a tobacco-free campus.

NJCU’s efforts are part of a growing trend to clean the air on campuses. Currently, more than 2,100 higher education institutions in the United States have gone smoke- or tobacco-free.

NJCU was one of 18 minority-serving institutions and community colleges that will receive funds and technical support from Truth Initiative®, the nation’s largest nonprofit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past.  Over the past three years, Truth Initiative has partnered with 135 colleges, reaching more than 1.2 million students and 275,000 faculty and staff across 35 states. 

“With 99 percent of smokers starting before age 26, college campuses are critical platforms for preventing young adults from starting tobacco use, aiding those current tobacco users in quitting and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke for all,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. “We are looking forward to supporting NJCU’s efforts to make smoking and tobacco use a thing of the past.”  Read more.

New York Times Editorial: Four-Year Degree Absolutely Needed

David Leonhardt
May 18, 2018

“You hear people say, ‘Well, a four-year degree isn’t needed,’” Connie Ballmer, the philanthropist and wife of the former Microsoft C.E.O. Steve Ballmer, recently told me.

“But then if you turn to them and say, ‘What do you want for your child?’ they wouldn’t dream of not having their kid go to a four-year college,” she continued. “they said it’s not needed – but they need it.”

Ballmer is right. The boomlet of skepticism about college comes disproportionately from upper-middle-class people who have the luxury of airing hypothetical concerns about education, without having to worry that their own children will be influenced by them. Yet, the misplaced skepticism can do real damage to poor and working-class teenagers who hear it and take it seriously.

The evidence remains overwhelming. College is the single most reliable path to the middle class and beyond. No, it doesn’t guarantee a good life. Nothing does. But earning a good living without a college degree today is difficult.

College graduates earn vastly more and are far more likely to be employed. They live longer, are more likely to be married and are more satisfied on average with their lives. These relationships appear to be at least partly casual, too. If you want more details, you can read some of my previous columns or dig into a long trail of academic studies. Read more.

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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