TRENTON – Senator Raymond Lesniak said that today’s report by the State Commission of Investigation (SCI) on the vulnerabilities to abuse evident in New Jersey’s institutions of higher education has made it clear that changes need to be made in the powers and duties of the Commission on Higher Education.
“From our county colleges to esteemed state universities, New Jersey’s higher education system is a true gem of the Garden State. But even the finest gem needs to be polished every once in a while,” said Senator Lesniak.
Senator Lesniak added, “It is critical – both from an academic and economic standpoint – that we continue to maintain and improve our higher education system. I have introduced legislation to do just that.”
Senator Lesniak is the current sponsor of S-2874, which would expand the powers of the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and make the fiscal practices of New Jersey’s public colleges and universities more transparent. Public institutions of higher education would be required to submit their annual budget to the CHE at least 90 days before adoption by their governing board and provide an annual financial report to the public.
“By increasing the role of the Commission on Higher Education we can streamline costs, develop a master plan for our institutions of higher learning, create incentives for programs with statewide significance, and increase the role of college and university administrators in the legislative and budgetary processes,” Senator Lesniak added.
Senator Lesniak said that he would look to amend S-2874 to incorporate many of the suggestions make in the SCI report. He also said he would continue to work with the Legislative Task Force on Higher Education and the Economy to develop further solutions in how to address the problems of accountability and transparency observed in New Jersey’s higher education system.
“Our colleges and universities must be able to compete with institutions around the country and around the globe for students, faculty, funding, and other resources,” said Senator Lesniak. “In order to do that, we must minimize waste and fraud in our schools and encourage them to adopt practices that will make them more efficient and effective in providing our residents with a world-class education.”