AICUNJ Advocates for Independent Higher Education


Independent College Presidents address the value of an independent higher education at 2019 State Budget committee meetings.

Dr. Gene Cornacchia, President, Saint Peter's University, spoke before the New Jersey Senate Budget Committee Hearing on Higher Education on May 9, 2019, in Trenton.  Dr. Anne Prisco, President, Felician University, provided testimony on May 1, 2019 at the New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee Hearing on Higher Education.  The following reflects their opening comments:

The non-profit, public mission colleges and universities are an important component of the higher education system in the State.  In addition to providing higher educational opportunities for students, we also have a significant economic impact estimated at $4 billion annually; we play a vital role in the advancement of the innovation economy and we provide the expertise needed to support the innovation economy.

Our independent colleges and universities provide additional high-quality choices for students to continue their edcuation in New Jersey at an institution that best fits their educational needs including program offerings, location, size and culture.  The combination of state and federal student aid for those that qualify as well as the significant institutional aid that our institutions provide allows for an affordable choice.

What is a surprise to many, overall our sector's students have the same racial, ethnic and economic demographics of the students attending the public sector four year colleges, and of the state population.  The myth of independent colleges being predominantly white upper middle class is just that - a myth.  Some of our independent institutions like Felician University, are the most diverse in the state in racial, ethnic and economic demographics. 

Read Dr. Prisco's notes prepared for testimony. 

Dr. Cornacchia's notes prepared for testimony.

Learn more about the impact of the independent college sector:

Fifth Annual
Legislative Conference presentation. (2019)

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

Appleseed Report (2017) on Economic Impact of Independent College Sector in New Jersey