Moving forward to ensure the future of higher education in the Garden State, Governor Christie today announced that Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks has sent the Legislature a list of 176 higher education capital construction projects, the first concerted contribution to New Jersey's higher education infrastructure in decades. The projects, many of which are shovel-ready, include cutting edge research laboratories, the latest computerized classrooms, and cyber networks that will allow students and faculty to interact with colleagues around the world through long-overdue construction, maintenance and attention to the State's higher education community.
"Today, we begin a new era of opportunity for New Jersey's colleges and universities," Governor Christie said. "To keep more of our best students in the State and to make our colleges more attractive research partners for industries looking to bring good paying jobs and businesses here, we need modern facilities to remain competitive."
Last August, the Governor signed legislation placing a $750 million General Obligation construction bond question on the ballot. Voters approved the bond authorization in November and Secretary Hendricks took swift action and proposed regulations in December. In addition, Secretary Hendricks announced that the State would also be making available bond proceeds from the reauthorization of four other higher education funding programs -- the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund (CIF); the Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund (HEFT); the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund (HETI); and the Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund (ELF). The combined capacity of these programs is more than $1.3 billion. During the process, Secretary Hendricks sent out a solicitation package and hosted an information session in February, and by March 25, 2013, colleges and universities submitted more than 250 applications for funding.
A team of experts from the Educational Facilities Authority, the Economic Development Authority, the Schools Development Authority and the Department of Treasury reviewed and recommended the approval of projects to Secretary Hendricks, who then compiled the list that best reflects the State's higher education goals and priorities. Selected projects targeted academic programs, especially science, technology, engineering and math. Institutions were required to detail how projects served students and aligned with New Jersey's workforce needs.
"Our team looked for innovative projects that were in line with the missions of the colleges and New Jersey's needs. I'm proud that higher education institutions in every region of our state will benefit," Secretary Hendricks said. "We had 46 institutions submit applications for $2.1 billion in funding, and I want to commend the higher education community for the impressive quality of the applications."