Independent, nonprofit colleges worth state investment: Dimenna  Grey J. Dimenna
The Asbury Park Press
Published 5:04 p.m. ET June 4, 2018 | Updated 1:34 p.m. ET June 6, 2018

The hallways of Trenton are filled again with the normal hustle and bustle of budget season.  This is the time of year when legislators determine what our state's funding priorities should be.  Inevitably, there are winners and losers.  This is especially true when it comes to education. 

The proper funding of education has been debated for years, from pre-k to vo-tech to graduate school.  When it comes to higher education, one sector has continuously been overlooked: the state's independent and nonprofit colleges and universities.  Our schools receive state funding through our students with the greatest need in the form of Tuition Assistance Grants (TAG) and the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), as well as funding for direct operating aid that has been drastically reduced.  While we are appreciative of the funding received, we know that increases in any or all of these sources could mean remarkalble gains in areas where our schools are already providing excellent results. 

Our state's independent and nonprofit colleges and universities -- represented by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersery (AICUNJ) -- serve students and communities from across the state.  (Read full article by
clicking here.)

Opinion: Independent schools, students, worthy of investmen
Nancy Blattner
Special to The Record 
Published 6:52 a.m. ET June 7, 2018

Gov. Phil Murphy recently challenged his Texas counterpart on a variety of reasons why New Jersey is a better place to live than Texas.  Particularly, I appreciate Murphy's highlighting of New Jersey's "world-class colleges and Universities" as evidence for his argument that New Jersey can more than hold its own in comparisons with other states, including Texas.  But think how much better we could be with full funding from the state.

As the state has had to do more with limited funds, higher education support has found itself on the chopping block.  As Board Chair for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey (AICUNJ), I have seen firsthand how our member institutions have struggled with the challenge of performing at the highest quality while operating aid from the state has been dramatically reduced.

AICUNJ schools encompass 14 colleges and univerities across the state, including Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Centenary University, College of St. Elizabeth, Drew University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Felician University, Georgian Court Univeristy, Monmouth University, Princeton University, Rider University, Saint Peter's University, Seton Hall University, and Stevens Institute of Technology. 

AICUNJ schools receive state funding from direct state operating aide, Tuition Assistance Grants (TAG) and the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF).  This funding, while greatly appreciated has not been provided at a level that would truly best benefit our students.  (Read full article by
clicking here.)


Report to the Governor and State Legislature (2016)

Independent Colleges & Universities $3.5 billion Impact on New Jersey (2017)

Review Information from the
4th Annual AICUNJ Legislative Conference (2018)

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey (AICUNJ) is committed to the advancement of independent higher education in New Jersey.  Our 14 member institutions perform a vital service to the State by providing close to 65,000 students access to diverse educational opportunities.  AICUNJ members also make a significant economic impact through research, community development and relevant degree programs that meet New Jersey's workforce needs.

AICUNJ stiimulates public interest in legislation and policy making that affects member institutions.  Our goals are to:

1. Influence public policy and leglslation to guarantee the citizens of New Jersey access to quality higher education in a wide variety of educational settings.
  • Serve as liaison with the state and federal governments on behalf of the independent sector.
  • Promote and raise awareness of independent higher education and its contributions that benefit the common good.
2. Assure the long-term financial health of independent institutions while maintaining the high quality of their academic offerings.
  • Provide leadership in and coordination of the plannning and research activities of the independent sector.
  • Suggest means by which its members can achieve maximum utilization of independent sector resources.
  • Provide a channel for assistance to each member institution.
  • Work cooperatively with the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ) for the benefit of New Jersey's independent colleges and universities.
  • Promote cooperative efforts among independent institutions and between independent and public institutions.
  • Encourage professional development through cooperation of member institutions.