Keeping Higher Education On Public Agenda (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture

New Jersey’s colleges and universities, and citizens have something to celebrate: passage of the “Building for the Future” higher education $750 million bond on Nov. 6 by nearly a 2/1 favorable vote. This is the first general obligation bond to support new academic facilities since 1988.

Legislative leaders such as Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Oliver, and minority/majority leaders Kean and Greenwald, and Gov. Christie should be congratulated for passing legislation to put the bond on the ballot. University, labor and business leaders should feel good about building a coalition to support passage of the bond, which got national attention.

But this victory, more about college opportunity for our citizens than buildings, should help to move post-secondary education higher on the public agenda. The vote in favor of the bond, especially in this difficult economy, was a big vote of confidence in the importance of our colleges.

College leaders and boards of trustees should use the bond win as a means to engage citizens about the value of college in New Jersey, and to ask citizens who strongly support college opportunity to help colleges meet policy reform challenges to keep higher education strong, now and in the future.

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