Our History

The story of New Jersey’s state colleges and universities is a narrative that began more than 165 years ago. Once upon a time in the 1850s, organizations of teachers and parents in several urban public- school districts came together as part of a national movement to improve educational quality by helping teachers reach higher professional standards.

Three “normal” schools were established; they offered advanced training in various subject areas and the art of teaching (pedagogy). Eventually, these three schools became The College of New Jersey, William Paterson University of New Jersey, and Kean University.

By the 1960s, state colleges expanded. They began to offer more diversity in their courses, going far beyond an exclusive focus on education and related fields.

In 1985, the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities was established by law, and in 1986, state statutes gave our colleges greater control, independence and responsibility over their educational missions and operations. All NJASCU members share an unwavering commitment to delivering high quality and affordable education, responsive to the needs of New Jersey’s citizens.