Cunningham To Chair Newly-Formed Higher Education Panel

Senator Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, looks on as the Senate votes on legislation.

TRENTON – Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham has been named as the first Chairwoman of the new Senate Higher Education Committee, which will focus exclusively on issues of importance to the state’s colleges and universities; those matters had previously been considered by the broader Senate Education Committee.

“Educating our young is one of government’s most sacred and important obligations, and it doesn’t end when our children graduate from high school,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “We must ensure future generations have the tools and training needed to be successful in today’s world, and a good education is the foundation for future success.

“In our current economy, it is becoming more difficult for New Jersey’s high school graduates to find ways to pay for higher education and job training and equally difficult for our higher education institutions to educate these students with fewer resources,” added Senator Cunningham. “I look forward to working with my fellow Legislators to tackle these issues and the growing list of higher education concerns that the state is facing, so that we can guarantee the promise of quality education for all of the state’s residents.”

“The challenges facing our institutions of higher education are great, and demand the careful consideration of legislators who are singularly tasked to take them on,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “By giving these issues the focus they deserve, we will ensure a bright future for higher education in New Jersey.”

Senator Cunningham previously served as a member of the NJ STARS Task force which examined and provided recommendations concerning NJ STARS – a scholarship program offering financial assistance to New Jersey students in the top 15 percent of their high school class. In the last legislative session, Senator Cunningham served on the Joint Committee on Public Schools.

Senator Nellie Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen) will become the Committee’s new Vice Chair. Joining Senators Cunningham and Pou on the Committee for the 2012-2013 term will be Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic).

Senator Cunningham will also serve on the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Senate Labor Committee.