Trenton – In the interest of producing greater transparency among New Jersey’s institutions of higher learning, the Senate Higher Education Committee released legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Committee Chair Joe Cryan that would require state colleges and universities to post certain reports and data on their websites for public consumption.
Specifically, an institution would be required to post its annual audit, annual fiscal monitoring report, and data on the amount of time needed to complete a degree. The goal of the bill is to make New Jersey’s institutions of higher learning more fiscally transparent and accountable.
“In order to help New Jersey’s institutes of higher education continue to turn out top-flight graduates, more fiscal accountability is required all-around,” said Senator Gopal. “This legislation will allow for a more transparent look at these institutions’ fiscal health, and give working families with college-age children a better idea of how much that education is going to cost, and how long it will take for a student to complete a degree,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).
The bill was originally part of a legislative package announced by the governor in January of 2023, with the aim of ensuring fiscal accountability at the state’s public institutions. The new requirements for the website would keep the public better informed, and prospective students make well-informed decisions about their future.
“This legislation is meant to uphold public accountability, and also to help hold these institutions’ feet to the fire as it concerns their finances,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “Transparency in all our public institutions is the ideal across the board, but it is especially important as students and their families make practical, financial decisions about their educational pursuits going forward.”
According to the National Center on Education Statistics, 64 percent of students needed six years to complete a 4-year degree in 2020. Making available time-to-degree completion would assist students when selecting degrees because completing a degree on time would prevent a student from taking on additional costs to acquire that degree.
The bill, S-2038, was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.