150 West State Street. Trenton NJ 08608 -- 609-989-1100 office

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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Stemming the Brain Drain:  Why It’s Important to Keep New Jersey’s Students Here for College

NJ Business Magazine

Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD

August 23, 2017


NJASCU CEO Michael Klein was asked to submit an op-ed to New Jersey Business Magazine about New Jersey’s outmigration of college-eligible students.  The following is his essay.


Each year, the students who leave New Jersey to attend college in another state far outnumber the out-of-state students who attend one of New Jersey’s colleges.  This net-outmigration, or “brain drain,” hurts our economy and depletes our workforce.  Reversing this damaging decades-long trend requires state support, institutional resourcefulness, and business leadership.


In 2014 (the most recent statistic available), 34,782 first-time undergraduates left New Jersey, while 5,876 out-of-state students came to New Jersey to start college, for a net out-migration of 28,906 new undergraduates.


To attract students to New Jersey’s colleges with state-of-the-art facilities without increasing tuition and fees, the state must boost its capital support for our colleges, and make it more consistent.  The $750 million Building Our Future Bond fund, approved by 63-percent of New Jersey’s voters in 2012, was the first general-obligation bond for higher education in 25 years.  New facilities for science, engineering, nursing, and business, plus expanded classrooms, were just some of the projects built with the bond proceeds.  We cannot wait another 25 years for the next state-backed bond fund for higher education.


To give students a head-start on postsecondary education and introduce them to New Jersey’s institutions of higher education, our public colleges partner with local high schools through dual-enrollment programs.  Dual-enrollment students earn college credit while in high school and can transfer those credits to accelerate their college degree.


The business community knows the importance of retaining New Jersey’s talent.  The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce projects that 29 percent of New Jersey’s jobs will require a bachelor’s degree in 2020, the highest percentage of any state.  NJBIA recently formed a Postsecondary Education Task Force to build and promote a dynamic brand for higher education in New Jersey, and develop strategies to prepare our future workforce.  I am excited to be a member of this task force and contribute to solving New Jersey’s brain drain.


Michael W. Klein is the executive director of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Make College More Affordable:  Modernize Contracts Laws for NJ State Colleges & Universities

Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD

Executive Director/CEO

NJ Association of State Colleges and Universities

August 11, 2017

The ideal college, according to President James Garfield, was having Mark Hopkins, the President of Williams College from 1836 to 1872, "on one end of a log and a student on the other."  Times have changed a bit since Garfield graduated from Williams in 1856.  To be sure, professors and their classrooms are important, but so too are libraries, laboratories, computers, and high-speed connections to the internet.  All colleges need these types of facilities and equipment, and they try to get the best price from the most responsible vendor or contractor.  But in New Jersey, the rules that public four-year colleges and universities follow to purchase goods and services, or construct a building, depend on how the institution is categorized under the law.  This differentiation no longer makes sense.  It is time to abolish the State College Contracts Law - which applies to seven institutions - and replace it with the same rules followed by public research universities.

New Jersey divides public four-year institutions of higher education into two categories:  
(1) state colleges and universities, which include The College of New Jersey, Kean University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College, Stockton University, Thomas Edison State University, and William Paterson University; and (2) public research universities, which includes Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, and Montclair State University.  Read full story here.

The following Letter to the Editor from NJASCU Executive Director Michael Klein was sent in response to a Star-Ledger editorial


Dear Editors:

Your editorial on July 23, 2017 “College Sex Assaults: Right Cause But Wrong Leader,” suggests that New Jersey’s colleges and universities should be “required to report every sexual assault allegation to the local prosecutor’s sex crimes unit.” This suggestion overlooks an important right belonging to victims of sexual crimes assaults. The New Jersey Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights Act (N.J.S.A. 18A:61E-1 et seq.) “which has been on the books since 1994” gives victims of sexual assaults the right to be free from pressure from campus personnel “to report crimes if the victim does not wish to do so.” This right extends to victims of sexual assaults that occur on the campus of any public or independent college or university in New Jersey and where the victim or alleged perpetrator is a student, or when the victim is a student involved in an off-campus sexual assault.

The New Jersey Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault recently released its report, which included several excellent recommendations. The state colleges and universities join the Task Force in its aim to “enhance the safety of students on campus, assist students affected by sexual violence, and create healthier campus communities built on respect.”

Thank you for considering my letter,


Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD

Executive Director/CEO

New Jersey Association of State Colleges & Universities

OP-ED: Student Fees – The Equation is Simple, but the Problem is Complex

NJ Spotlight

Michael W. Klein

May 12, 2016

Charting the connection between student fees and state funding for higher education 

State funding is the key to college affordability at New Jersey’s  public four-year institutions – a fact that should be considered by policymakers preparing for the Assembly Higher Education Committee’s May 12th hearing on the Office of State Comptroller’s report on student fees.  It is important to understand the connection between the costs charged by New Jersey’s state colleges and universities in tuition and fees and the appropriations the institutions receive from the state.

In fiscal year 2016, New Jersey was one of only nine states that decreased its appropriations for higher education, according to the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University.  This is the tip of an unfortunate trend: New Jersey has been cutting appropriations to its state colleges and universities for over a decade.  Between FY 2006 and FY 2016, the state decreased operating funding to the eight state colleges and universities by $76.2 million, over 29 percent.

These reductions place New Jersey near the bottom of national comparisons for state support for higher education.  Between FY 2010 and FY 2015, New Jersey had the 10th-largest decrease in the United States in higher education appropriations per student, according to the most recent State Higher Education Finance report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) organization.

Factoring in enrollment growth and taking an even wider view, the cuts are even steeper.  Over the 25-year period between FY 1990 and FY 2015, appropriations per student at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities, adjusted for inflation, decreased 40 percent, from $11,085 to $6,697.  During this same period, full-time equivalent enrollment increased 60 percent, from 169,482 students to 270,453 students.

In addition to the loss of operating funds, the state colleges and universities had to rely significantly on bond funds backed solely by the institutions until the Building Our Future Bond Act was passed in 2012.  Many student fees are designated specifically to pay the debt service on bonds issued by the institutions.  The state provided no capital funding for higher education between FY 2003 and FY 2014, and New Jersey was one of only five states that provided no capital funding for higher education between FY 2010 and FY 2015, according to reports from the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Despite decreases in appropriations and significant reliance, until recently, on their own bonding capacity, the leaders of New Jersey’s state colleges and universities have been prudent fiscal managers and have controlled costs for their students.  Between FY 2011 and FY 2016, New Jersey’s public four-year institutions had the fourth-lowest percentage increase in in-state tuition and required fees in the nation, at four percent, according to a report from the College Board on college pricing.

The operation of the state colleges and universities, particularly regarding budgeting and audits, is transparent and open to the public.  As the state comptroller’s report itself states several times, New Jersey law (C.18A:3B-6.c.) requires each board of trustees of the public colleges and universities to conduct a public hearing before adopting a tuition or fee schedule or an overall institutional budget, providing members of the college community who wish to testify with an opportunity to be heard.  These meetings typically take place around this time of year.

An additional law (C.18A:3B-48) requires each public college and university board of trustees to have an audit committee.  The committee must assist the board in ensuring and safeguarding the integrity of the institution’s financial statements, overseeing and evaluating the performance of outside auditors retained by the institution, and overseeing and evaluating the performance of the institution’s internal audit function.

Tuition and fees are just two pieces in the college affordability puzzle in New Jersey.  An equally important piece is funding from the state to operate the institutions.  We welcome the opportunity to discuss with policymakers how to strengthen the partnership between our institutions and the state to keep a college education affordable and accessible to New Jersey’s students.


Total State Appropriations to the State Colleges and Universities
FY 2006-FY 2016


FY 2006

FY 2016

$ Cut

% Cut






Kean University





Montclair State




















Thomas Edison





William Paterson











 Source:  http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/05/11/op-ed-student-fees-the-equation-is-simple-but-the-problem-is-complex/


Michael W. Klein is Executive Director/CEO for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, a nonprofit, nompartisan higher education association.  The Association's nine members are: The College of New Jersey, Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Stockton University, Rowan University, Thomas Edison State University and William Paterson University.

Earlier NJASCU Editorials

Education Infrastructure in New Jersey - If We Build It, They Will Stay - Michael W. Klein (February 26, 2016)

Higher Education Institutions Need to Excel in the Ratings-Resistant Qualities of Innovation and Public Service - Pamela Hersh, Director of Communications & Marketing (October 5, 2015)

Keeping College Affordable in New Jersey - Op-Ed Submitted to Star Ledger regarding Aug 15th Editorial (August 19, 2015)

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