(Trenton) – Assembly Democrat Gary S Schaer issued the following statement regarding today’s budget hearing with representatives from the state’ s higher education services:
“It is obvious that Higher Education has turned out to be less than priority for the Governor than claimed initially in his 2010’s “88 Ways to fix New Jersey.”
“Clearly, higher education is allotted an exorbitant blanket appropriation with little rhyme or reason as to why or how it is funded in that way. With more families struggling in this economy to send their children to college, we need to review our funding methodology before New Jersey travels any further down this road of potential irresponsibility and unfairness.
“We simply cannot continue to use the same antiquated method in funding our higher education system. Rationale and accountability must be required for any expenditure during these difficult economic times.
“For our students, families, single parents in need of financial aid to advance their education, we should strongly consider more long-term solutions in funding higher education. Strengthening New Jersey’s valuable financial aid programs, such as the Equal Opportunity Fund, TAG, and STARS –with additional access to funding will put college aspirations within reach of more students from lower income families.
“Maintaining flat or slightly reduced funding– relying solely on numbers from previous budgets– without considering academic excellence and implementation- may lead to underfunding our institutions. Without implementing a rational funding formula for higher education, New Jersey will not keep pace with the growing requirements for a quality college education.”