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Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD

Chief Executive Officer



Barbara Berreski, Esq.

Government & Legal Affairs


Patricia A. Berry

Budget & Administration


Pamela J. Hersh

Communications & Marketing


Support Staff

Charlene R. Pipher

Executive Assistant/Web Design


Terry Toth

Part-Time Secretarial Assistant



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New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities

150 West State Street

Trenton, New Jersey 08608

609-989-1100 office

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House Grapples with Higher Ed Budget, Departs From Trump but Pell May Lose


July 20, 2017


The budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year doesn’t suggest nearly as many cuts as were proposed by the White House, but the Pell grant program, in particular, may take a cut.

As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away


July 17, 2017


The National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts has repeatedly failed to prove the current ownership of loans that, in an echo of the subprime mortgage crisis, it initially made through banks and then sold to investors.  The troubled loans total at least $5 billion.  Tens of thousands of people who took out private loans to pay for college but have not been able to keep up payments may get their debts wiped away because critical paperwork is missing.

Benefits of Title IX Pass Down Through Generations


July 15, 2017


Three part series on Title IX – “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” – features The College of New Jersey alumna Jill Cosse, formerly the first women’s lacrosse coach at Kean University.

NJASCU CEO Michael Klein Responds in NJSpotlight.com to a Fund for New Jersey Report


Would Reforms to Small-Business Tax, Minimum Wage, Family-Leave Fix NJ Economy?


July 13, 2017


Despite recent job gains and an improving unemployment rate, a new report on New Jersey’s economy suggests there’s still room for additional growth if state leaders are willing to do more in several key areas to help more people find good-paying jobs.


The report released yesterday by the Fund for New Jersey, a philanthropic organization that encourages informed policymaking (and a funder of NJ Spotlight), makes a number of recommendations that leaders could follow to help the state economy reach its full potential.  They include reorienting state tax incentive programs to benefit small businesses and increasing New Jersey’s minimum wage to bring it more in line with what it takes to survive in a high-cost state like New Jersey.  In addition, the report makes a couple of higher education related recommendation, including improving college graduation rates and implementing more remedial education programs.


NJASCU CEO Mike Klein, who communicated with the report’s author extensively, clarified a couple of the report’s representations/omissions in the “Comments” section for the article on the NJ Spotlight site.


The report recommends increasing college completion rates without acknowledging that New Jersey is already one of the top states in college graduation rates (which measure first-time, full-time students only) and completion rates (which include transfer students and part-time students.  New Jersey’s 11 senior public colleges and universities have the 6th-highest graduation rate in the country (http://collegecompletion.chronicle.com/state/#state=nj&sector=public_four), and the 4th-highest completion rate ( https://nscresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/Signature12aTables.xls).


The recommendation to make “remedial education more available” also fails to acknowledge that every senior public institution already provides remedial education to the students, as reported here: http://www.state.nj.us/highereducation/IP/IP2014/index.shtml#PRU (under “Characteristics of Undergraduate Students” in each report).


Posted by Mike Klein on July 13 at 9:42 p.m.

Now It’s Official:  Harrington (Finally) Sworn in as Education Commissioner


July 13, 2017


It got little notice and may not last all that long, but yesterday Kimberley Harrington finally won the full title that has gone with her job for nearly the past year: New Jersey’s commissioner of education.  Governor Chris Christie announced late in the day that Harrington had been formally sworn in to the job she had held in an “acting” capacity for nine months, following the resignation of former commissioner David Hespe.

How We Are Ruining America -The College Admissions Game


July 13, 2017


Educated parents live in neighborhoods with the best teachers, they top off their local public school budgets and they benefit from legacy admissions rules, from admissions criteria that reward kids who grow up with lots of enriching travel and from unpaid internships that lead to jobs.


It's no wonder that 70 percent of the students in the nation’s 200 most competitive schools come from the top quarter of the income distribution.  With their admissions criteria, America’s elite colleges sit atop gigantic mountains of privilege, and then with their scholarship policies they salve their consciences by offering teeny step ladders for everybody else.  (David Brooks column).

President Trump’s Support for Apprenticeships Put Them Back into the Spotlight


July 12, 2017


In recent years, the education industry’s business model has become increasingly centered around two key products:  college and career readiness.  But while educators continue to focus on building the skills that help students get to higher education, employers say that those entering the workforce are still not prepared, particularly for jobs that desperately need to be filled.


It's for this reason that President Trump has recently announced his support for apprenticeship programs, as well as the removal of regulations that prevent businesses from participating in them.  It’s also partly why generally the apprenticeship model – where students go to school and work part-time – is gaining steam in education circles as the alternative to the standard college degree-to-job approach.  Though some critics still say that such programs disrupt higher education enrollment and shortchange a liberal arts curriculum that gives students lifelong “soft” skills they need for success, more and more stakeholders in the industry are deciding to embrace it as they see long-run advantages.


States Require More Disclosure on Student Loans and Doing So Slows the Rate of Borrowing


July 11, 2017 (online) July 12, 2017 (in print)


Study after study shows that college students are terrible at keeping track of how much debt they are racking up in school, so states are working to make the cost of higher education crystal clear – and there are signs that the moves are slowing runaway borrowing.

State Looks to Private Partners for Help Rebuilding Energy Infrastructure


July 7, 2017


The state is looking to the private sector to help rebuild and fortify its aging energy infrastructure.


In legislation (A-4508) that advanced in the Assembly prior to the summer recess, lawmakers approved a measure that would encourage public and private partnerships to facilitate energy projects at government buildings.

The impetus behind the bill is that with government coffers drained, the private sector, in partnership with local and state governments, could help design, build, and finance energy projects at a wide range of facilities, including water and wastewater treatment plants, colleges, medical facilities, and municipal buildings.

The legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D-Bergen), builds on the model of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2009, which allowed higher-education institutions to partner with private developers on projects.

Among the advantages of such public-private partnerships, proponents say the program will allow long-overdue projects to be undertaken without incurring the expense of millions of dollars in public funds.

Governor Touts Lottery as Answer to NJ’s Pension Problems, but Critics Deride Plan


July 6, 2017


Under the transfer that was enacted earlier this week, the Lottery enterprise goes into the pension system with a valuation of $13.5 billion, according to an outside firm’s estimate.  And it is also projected to produce $37 billion in revenue for the pension system over the next 30 years.


Because the state constitution restricts how Lottery proceeds can be used, the shift will only benefit the retirement funds for teachers (TPAF), general state workers (PERS), and state-employed police officers and firefighters (PFRS).  Under the administration’s estimates. 78 percent of the Lottery revenues will go to the teachers’ fund, 21 percent to the general public-workers’ fund, and 1 percent to the police and firefighters.  As a result of the shift, funds from the general state budget are now covering programs Lottery proceeds have previously paid for,

Despite Budget Drama and Deadlock, School Funding Changes Survive
July 5, 2017

Central to the budget agreement reached by Christie and Democratic leaders in the state Senate and Assembly late Monday night was an additional $181 million in school funding and, just as important, the first meaningful move in nearly a decade to follow the state’s school funding law.

Explainer: The Horizon Law that Helped Trigger a State Shutdown, up Close
July 5, 2017

Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex), who spearheaded the legislation, said the measure is modeled on a law Pennsylvania enacted more than a decade ago to establish a range of reserves for Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans operating in that state. Maryland, Michigan, and Rhode Island have also implemented regulations designed to control the level of surplus accumulated by these health insurance providers.

With Budget Signing, State is Back in Business – Just in Time for the 4th
July 4, 2017

The key breakthrough came as the Democratic leaders of the state Assembly and Senate met face-to-face on Monday with the chief executive of Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the mammoth New Jersey insurance company that Christie had targeted for reform for the better part of 2017.

Budget Deadlock Stretches into Day 3, Thousands of State Workers Idled
July 3, 2017

State Government Goes Dark
July 1, 2017

Working against a midnight deadline, lawmakers negotiated into the night, hoping to dislodge a budget deadlock and prevent the state government from shutting down at 12:01 a.m. July 1.

Legislators Consider Overhauling Higher Education Act
June 26, 2017

Both U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and several members of Congress have expressed a desire to completely revamp the Higher Education Act of 1965, which has been re-authorized eight times and is due for another reauthorization, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Supporters of the idea say a significant retooling of the legislation could help address issues with student debt and accreditation, as well as issues regarding the lack of comprehensive and accessible data for students and parents to make informed college choices. However, crafting a new piece of legislation that is as wide-ranging could be very difficult in a political climate marked by partisan gridlock and low public approval ratings.

Suicide Third Leading Cause of Death for New Jerseyans Ages 10 to 24
June 26, 2017

New data in a report published by the State Department of Children and Families shows suicide is the third leading cause of death for New Jersey youth ages 10 to 24. Medical professionals caution defining specific factors, though they point to things like increased rates of anxiety and depression, more academic and social pressure, the rise of social media and online bullying, and greater access to drugs and alcohol.

Recent College Grads Are Leaving New Jersey in Record Numbers. Here's Why.
June 25, 2017

As another college graduation season comes to an end, and a whole new set of millennials enter the job market, the prospect of recent graduates simply moving out of their parents' homes is dimmer than ever. According to Census data, 47 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds in New Jersey were still living with their parents in 2015, the highest rate in the country.

NJASCU CEO Michael Klein Challenges Assumptions in a June 5, 2017, WSJ Op-Ed
June 23, 2017

Timothy Lemmer
Letters Editor
The Wall Street Journal
1211 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Lemmer:

Richard Vedder and Justin Strehle ("The Diminishing Returns of a College Degree," June 5) ask: "[How] does knowing a lot about, say, anthropology, make one a more productive worker?" The answer is skills like communication, organization, teamwork, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, and adaptability. These so-called "soft skills" are prized by employers ("The Soft Skills Employers Are Looking For," August 30, 2016) and increasingly recognized and rewarded in liberal arts and humanities majors ("Hunting for Soft Skills, Companies Scoop Up English Majors," October 25, 2016).

Op-Ed: Switching Lottery Profits to Pensions, Another Reckless Budget Gimmick
June 23, 2017

An op-ed column from New Jersey Policy Perspective President Gordon MacInnes raises the question that NJASCU has been asking for the past several weeks: Gov. Chris Christie is pushing hard on the Legislature to approve his bait-and-switch proposal to use the state Lottery's profits for paying off pensions. There's a problem with this idea that has received little attention from the administration or Legislature: Where will New Jersey find the shifted $1 billion to help finance education and institutions?

June 23, 2017
An op-ed column from New Jersey Policy Perspective President Gordon MacInnes raises the question that NJASCU has been asking for the past several weeks:  Gov. Chris Christie is pushing hard on the Legislature to approve his bait-and-switch proposal to use the state Lottery's profits for paying off pensions.  There's a problem with this idea that has received little attention from the administration or Legislature:  Where will New Jersey find the shifted $1 billion to help finance education and institutions? 
Education Week
June 20, 2017
Pell Grants for low-income college students can now be used for summer studies.  The U.S. Education Department announced on June 19, 2017 that year-round Pell Grants will be available starting July 1, allowing students to take summer classes and graduate sooner.  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says the decision "is about empowering students and giving them the flexibility and support needed to achieve their goals."  Pell Grants have traditionally been used to pay for a student's fall and spring terms, but demand for a year-round option has grown as more students take summer courses.  
Education Dive Newsletter - EducationDive.com
June 19, 2017
President Donald Trump's administration announced that undocumented individuals who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will not be immediately subject to deportation.  President Donald Trump will not be immediately rescinding the protections offered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children, although this could change in the long term.  The program affects approximately 800,000 individuals in the country, often known as "Dreamers."
June 14, 2017
New York students began applying this month for the state's highly-touted new "Excelsior Scholarship" program that will give residents free tuition to the state's public colleges.
The program, which has been praised by education advocates as a model for other states, will provide free tuition at public colleges and universities for New York families that earn less than $100,000 a year.  In exchange, recipients agree to live in New York after graduation for the same number of years they received the scholarship.
There are no plans to bring a similar, widespread "tuition-free-college" program to New Jersey.  But, the Garden State also offers several smaller programs that offer ways for New Jersey residents to go to college tuition free.
University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, which has been tracking the growing number of "free college" programs nationwide, enumerated seven free college tuition opportunity programs in New Jersey.
NJASCU CEO Mike Klein responded to this article for the omissions of key tuition free programs in New Jersey.  The result was that the original NJ.com article was updated to reflect Mike's comments.
To the editor:
Your article on 7 Ways to Go to College for Free in NJ overlooked three important institutionally financed programs:
New Jersey City University's NJCU Debt-Free Promise Program offers a scholarship covering tuition and fees to New Jersey students with a family household income of $60,000 or less who are admitted from high school and attend full-time, after federal and state financial aid is awarded.
Rutgers University-Camden's Bridging the Gap program provides New Jersey residents enrolled as first-year students on a full-time basis who have an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less with a grant covering the cost of tuition and the general Campus Fee that is not already covered by federal and state grants.
Rutgers University-Newark's Talent and Opportunity Pathways Program provides a scholarship covering the cost of in-state tuition and mandatory school fees to residents of the City of Newark, or graduates of a New Jersey county college, who have a household income of $60,000 or less after all federal, state, and internal and external scholarships and grants have been applied.
For all state residents, New Jersey is a national leader in offering need-based financial aid.  New Jersey provides the sixth-highest amount of grant aid per full-time undergraduate student ($1,320), according to a national study.  According to the same study, 20 percent of New Jersey's state support for higher education goes toward grant aid, the 10th highest percentage in the country.
While we continue to work to make a college education more affordable in New Jersey, our current efforts should be recognized.  

NJASCU CEO Michael Klein responded to a New York Times article: “Student Debt’s Grip on the Economy,” that appeared in the Sunday Review section on May 21, 2017.


To the Editor:

To your list of recommendations to help student borrowers, I suggest adding one more remedy:  increasing state funding for public colleges and universities to decrease the cost of attendance for the vast majority of college students.  State and local appropriations per student at public institutions - where over 77 percent of undergraduates are enrolled - is 19 percent lower than it was 25 years ago, adjusted for inflation.  Moreover, over the past 25 years, students' share of the cost of their education at public institutions increased from 26 percent to more than 48 percent.  If states would contribute more to support the operation of their public colleges and universities, students could pay less - and borrow less - to attend them.*

Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD

Executive Director/CEO

New Jersey Association of State Colleges & Universities

*  In New Jersey, the appropriations decrease has been greater than the national average - appropriations per full-time equivalent student over the past 25 years has DECREASED by 40.1 percent, while enrollment INCREASED by 63.2 percent.


Adding It Up: Economic Impact of New Jersey’s Private Colleges, Universities - NJSpotlight.com (May 11, 2017)
NJASCU Testifies in Opposition to Proposed Assembly Bill No. 2842 - May 11, 2017
Christie Signs ‘Snooki’ Bill Capping New Jersey College Speaking Fees - NJ.com (May 9, 2017)
New Jersey City University Graduation – May 24th - NJCU.edu (May 8, 2017)
Stockton Will Host Its First Boardwalk Commencement on May 12 - Stockton.edu (May 8, 2017)
The College of New Jersey Students Launching App to ‘Handl’ Your Tasks, Errands - NJ.com (May 7, 2017)
Interactive Multimedia Grads at TCNJ Question Advance Technology at Senior Showcase - TCNJ.edu (May 3, 2017)
Thomas Edison State University Vice President Named American Council on Education Fellow - TESU.edu (May 3, 2017)
Stockton President Harvey Kesselman to Receive American Association for Access, Equity & Diversity Award Stockton.edu (May 2, 2017) 

William Paterson University Listed Among Top University Sales Programs in the Nation for 2017 - WPUNJ.edu (May 1, 2017)

In Trump’s First 100 Days, Higher Ed Sees More Shadow than Substance - Chronicle.com (April 28, 2017)

Stockton Students March Against ‘Rape Culture’ - SNJToday.com (April 27, 2017)

NJCU Students Win Big at Science Research Symposium - NJCU.edu (April 26, 2017)

37.5% - NJSpotlight.com (April 25, 2017)

Two New Jersey Colleges Among Top 15 Best in Nation for ROI - NJBIZ.com (April 24, 2017)

Five NJCU Students and Alumni Receive the Fulbright U.S. Student Awards - NJCU.edu (April 20, 2017)

Stockton Student Named Volunteer of the Year by Mental Health Association of Monmouth County - Stockton.edu (April 20, 2017)

Toys R Us Pledges $100,000 to William Paterson University for Scholarships - WPUNJ.edu (April 20, 2017)

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