NJASCU CEO Michael Klein Responds in NJSpotlight.com to a Fund for New Jersey Report
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§or=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.
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.
June 23, 2017
The Wall Street Journal
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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?
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
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.
EARLIER NEWS & OPINION COVERAGE
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)