Governor's Budget Proposal for Higher Education

February 28, 2014

Governor Chris Christie introduced his 2014-15 budget proposal to the state legislature and public earlier this week, at which time he highlighted the successful integration of UMDNJ into Rutgers, and called on the state university to help identify ways to improve health care delivery under Medicaid and Family Care. For the state budget as a whole, an increase of 3.5% to $34.4 billion was set forth by the Governor, with over $9 out of every $10 in new state spending targeted for debt service, health benefits, and pensions.
 
In keeping with the general direction of his overall state budget recommendations, the Governor’s FY15 proposal includes an increase in higher education spending, with most of the new dollars targeted for college and university employee benefits, and debt service on higher education bonds.  Although many of the budget details have not yet been released, it appears that direct state appropriations to Rutgers and the other senior public colleges and universities have been held flat in the Governor’s proposal, while over $54 million has been set aside for increased benefits costs for employees of these institutions and another $58 million added for debt service payments.

Regarding other spending items of note to the Rutgers community, the Governor’s budget recommendations include a 4% increase in Tuition Aid Grant funding, along with stable funding for the Educational Opportunity Fund offerings.  In addition, the Governor’s proposal removes a one-time special allocation of $10 million for the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, leaving $18 million in support for the Institute from the state Department of Health in 2014-15.