Sarlo: Are State College Belts Tight Enough?

TRENTON – Senator Paul A. Sarlo today asked New Jersey Higher Education officials to explain why increases in administrators and faculty at State colleges far exceed the rise in student enrollment for a four-year period that ended last year.

“Despite claims of belt tightening at the State colleges, I find it very troubling that so many more faculty and administrators were added while student enrollments lagged,” said Senator Sarlo, the lead inquisitor for the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee’s examination of the higher education portion of Governor Corzine’s proposed spending plan.

In a report by the Commission on Higher Education, the nine State colleges were found to have added 20.2 percent more administrators, 10.6 percent more faculty, but just 4 percent more students for a four year period ending last year.

“I was inclined to try to help restore some of the most painful cuts proposed in this budget, but I want explanations for these numbers,” said Senator Sarlo.

Senator Wayne R. Bryant, Chairman of the Senate budget panel agreed, asking all the State colleges to submit explanations for the numbers within 10 days.

The Administration’s spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 would pare nearly $300 million from current year spending on higher education, leading officials to claim sharp tuition increases would be unavoidable.

“No one wants to see double-digit tuition increases at State colleges, because that would defeat their purpose,” Senator Sarlo said. “But we need some explanations for these numbers because the disparity seems to be too wide between the added faculty and administrators and the student enrollments.”

Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Passaic and Essex, said the Senate budget panel could call officials from the Higher Education commission back before the panel to question them further at the request of Senator Bryant.

“It all depends on their explanations,” Senator Sarlo said.