Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation that will restructure New Jersey’s system of higher education. He traveled to Rutgers campuses in Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden to discuss the plan Wednesday.
The restructuring that will be finalized by July of next year merges most of the assets of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers.
New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks says the restructuring will help the state attract top students and faculty and get more research funding.
“The creation of regional centers of excellence will aid New Jersey’s comeback by making it easier for our higher institutions to create partnerships with business and industry to help drive innovation and economic growth in our state,” she said.
Christie says the moves will strengthen Rutgers.
“Rutgers was already an outstanding institution. Now it’s going to become a powerhouse,” Christie said.
The legislation also makes Rowan a research university and fosters collaboration between Rowan and Rutgers on medical sciences.
It’s not clear just how much the restructuring will cost. The governor says money to pay for it could come from $540 million in previously authorized borrowing for higher education that was not used.
A $750 million bond issue to pay for higher education is also on the November ballot.