In a national context, New Jersey has funded public higher education poorly for many years. And given the state's fiscal crisis, college and university leaders anticipated a budget cut requiring higher education to share the pain of helping the state balance its severely out of control budget.
But it surprised college leaders to learn that the 2010-2011 budget proposal contains another hefty round of cuts to the nine state colleges and universities: $50 million, or 15 percent of direct operating aid. Higher education, overall, would lose $173 million. This will be the seventh round of cuts to state colleges in the past ten years, on top of a $62 million reduction ($17 million for the nine state colleges and universities) in February. This is especially troublesome given that New Jersey ranks 47th nationally in funding per student since 2005.