By Mary E. Forsberg
The conclusion of New Jersey Policy Perspective’s 2006 report Flunking Out: New Jersey’s Support for Higher Education Falls Short says it all.
New Jersey is being told by the state’s leaders to live within its means. Whether dealing with the budget of a family or state that is always sound advice. But there must be more to the concept than simply saying “no” to spending money. Truly living within one’s means involves an honest assessment of what is needed, real thought given to priorities, investing in the future—and then doing everything possible to make sure the resources are available.
It would be nice to say that in every area where New Jersey fell short, the problems have been corrected. Sadly that’s not the case.
Today, the picture is basically unchanged. The state is doing no better at investing in higher education. Tuition and fees have continued to grow so that students and their families are being squeezed harder than ever. The picture would be worse if it weren’t for economic stimulus funds from Washington. Given Governor Christie’s insistence on balancing the state budget without new taxes even if the result is deep cuts, the situation is likely to get worse. When it comes to investing in its young people and its economic future, New Jersey still gets an F.
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