Turner: New Jersey Can’t Afford Higher Education Cuts

TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee, made the following statement after the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee held hearings on the higher education portions of the proposed FY07 Budget:

“New Jersey will honestly be worse off if these draconian cuts in support for higher education are accepted. It will be our young people who suffer the most as tuitions go up, programs get cut and opportunities to compete with the global economy diminish.

“As we proceed in the budget process, I will focus on making sure that our institutions of higher education are accessible, affordable and accountable. To do this, we must make sure that our colleges and universities are as financially efficient as possible, that administrative costs are kept to a minimum and every available dollar is spent on providing our young people with the most comprehensive educational experience possible.

“Additionally, our federal representatives need to step up to the plate and fight for more federal higher education dollars to make their way back to New Jersey. Our state is one of the best educated, most innovative states in the nation, yet our colleges and universities don’t get the support from Washington they deserve.

“No matter what, we need to find a way to reduce these cuts or mitigate their effects. If we allow these $300 million in cuts to remain, it’s going to end up as a tax on our students and on our future. Every dollar we spend on higher education is an investment in the future of New Jersey, and this is one investment we can ill afford to shortchange.”