Newly re-elected New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced higher education in his state will receive a major influx of funding.
At a press conference at the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, Murphy announced his administration’s intention to distribute $400 million in grants to colleges and universities across the country.
“Topping up these funds now is the right thing to do,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Interest rates today remain at near historic lows yet the needs of our institutions remain at near historic highs.”
Murphy said that funds marked the first addition to the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund (CIF) since 2015. CIF funding derives from issuing bonds, lottery proceeds, state allocations, and earnings from interest and investment. Murphy hopes the move will combat chronic “brain drain” — a term used to refer to highly qualified high school graduates who leave New Jersey to attend college.
“Right now, all across the state, high school seniors are sending out their college applications. Our goal, since day one of this administration, has been to see more and more of these applications headed to admissions offices right here in New Jersey,” said Murphy. “As I’ve said more times than I care to count, we need to stop letting our high-achieving young people be one of our state’s greatest exports.”
“Officials say the state funding should also help keep tuition in check for students, as the state foots the bill for improvements colleges would normally have to pay for,” per WHYY.
The state’s 74 colleges and universities may begin applying for funds in the spring of 2022. Applications for the funds are scheduled to open in the spring of 2022.
“Not only is this hopefully going to make our already world-class institutions of higher education even better and sharper. It will also take the burden off of students and their families, but it’s also the smart thing to do,” Murphy said during his announcement.
Murphy, a Democrat, narrowly secured his second term after the Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli surged in the polls on election day. Ciattarelli focused on lowering property taxes and ending COVID-19 restrictions, while Murphy showcased his first-term successes, including increasing funding for public schools and providing more access to pre-K.