HEADLINES : New Jersey
NJ university merger may be delayed by a year; Senate vote nears, still no price tag
New Jersey's massive public university merger won't begin until at least July 2013, legislators said Monday as they scrambled to pass a bill that authorizes the reorganization plan now and without the promised cost estimates.
Legislators pressed ahead with their bill Monday and set up a vote in the full Senate on Thursday. But cost estimates remained vague, even as lawmakers fast-tracked a plan that could trigger significant tuition hikes at the public schools involved. No state money has been allocated for the plan whose costs would be borne by the schools, where revenue comes from tuition.
As introduced, the sweeping legislation would have Rutgers University absorb the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark and New Brunswick, and would partner its Camden campus with Rowan University in Glassboro, which would be designated a research university. UMDNJ's School of Osteopathic Medicine would go to Rowan. The bill, sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, would also require that Rutgers shoulder UMDNJ's debt - more than $600 million.
The committee also released a bill that would place a bond referendum on the November ballot to provide $750 million in funding for capital improvements at the state's colleges and universities.