New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (a Seton Hall Law School alumnus) delivered his budget address to the NJ Legislature on Tuesday, February 21. Higher education, public and private, saw a proposed increase of $107 million, or 5.4%, from the FY12 budget.
There was a mix of good and disappointing news for the state’s 14 independent colleges and universities. There was hope that some level of direct assistance through the Independent College and University Aid Act (ICUAA) would be restored. The Act was originally passed years ago in recognition of the public benefit that independent (private) colleges and universities provide. Funding through the Aid Act was cut in the FY11 and 12 budgets.
There was good news in that funding for Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) was increased by 10%, to $325 million. TAG awards go to the neediest (income-wise) students to complement federal funding they receive. In many cases the TAG awards provide the financial difference in whether those students will be able to attend college.
With the release of the Governor’s proposed budget, things will certainly heat up in Trenton as the Legislature will now hear from numerous organizations. The new budget begins on July 1.