Advocacy & Policy
Legislative Impact/State and Federal Agenda
- Our 14 independent, non-profit, public-mission colleges and universities are an important component of the overall higher education structure in New Jersey
- Work diligently to continue to provide the access and affordability to offer students more choices and opportunities to stay in New Jersey for college education thus limiting the out-migration
- Face numerous challenges in a market that is becoming more competitive –many are struggling financially
- Want to work cooperatively with Legislature and Governor on improving access, affordability and the quality of higher education in New Jersey
Advocacy for Independent Higher Education in New Jersey: ICUNJ
The Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey (ICUNJ) is the advocacy organizations that works to support New Jersey’s independent, non-profit institutions. Each year, ICUNJ interacts with State government about the importance of non-profit, public mission colleges and universities as a component of the higher education system in the State.
Initiatives include lobbying for more direct state aid and advocating for increase in Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) and Educational Opportunity Funding (EOF).
Key points promoted by ICUNJ include:
- Overall, the independent colleges and universities expand the diversity and choice afforded to New Jersey’s college students, and they have done so for a long time.
- New Jersey’s independent colleges and universities serve an important public purpose. They annually award almost as many baccalaureate degrees and advance degrees –master’s, professional, and doctorate – as New Jersey’s three public research institutions.
- More than 63,000 students attend non-profit public mission independent colleges and universities – nearly same number as Rutgers (Fall 2021).
- More than one in five of four year undergraduate students attend non-profit public mission independent colleges and universities (Fall 2021).
- Nearly one-third of graduate and professional students attend independent colleges and universities (Fall 2021).
- Diversity in overall undergraduate enrollment at independent colleges is similar to public colleges (2020-2021).
- The benefits of the private sector come with only limited taxpayer funding – approximately $115 million – while generating an economic impact of between $3.5 billion to $4 billion. This is a $35-or-$40-to-$1 return on state investment.
As the higher education market is becoming more competitive, many smaller institutions are struggling financially. AICUNJ also lobbies for policies that reach for parity with public institutions, including working for protection from third party property tax appeals and changes to land use procedures and statues that can be costly to independents.
The ICUNJ Sixth Annual Legislative Conference took place on April 22, 2022 at Rider University. The facts and stats shared at the Conference can be found here.