If Rutgers loses its Camden campus, it could end up spending $155 million — or far more — to refinance its debt
By Tara Nurin

The New Jersey Senate Higher Education Committee passed the controversial New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act yesterday, despite not knowing what the legislation will cost the state. Although most of the questions from the committee related to the failure of the bill’s sponsors to provide a price tag to overhaul much of the structure and governance of Rutgers-Camden, Rutgers-Newark, Rowan University, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), the committee released the bill by a vote of 5-0.
“I understand there are some steps we can take to work with sponsors to continue to improve this bill,” said committee member Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) after voting to release it to the Budget and Appropriations Committee in advance of a hearing scheduled for that committee on Monday.

Expressing a sentiment that likely explains why his four committee colleagues also voted to pass the bill despite their stated reservations, he continued, “I think it deserves to be debated in the budget committee because from a policy point of view, the goal would be making sure New Jersey’s got the best higher education infrastructure in the country.”

Questions about the cost have been circulating since the restructuring debate began in January. But as higher education committee vice-chair Sen. Nellie Pou (D-Paterson) pointed out, “Here we are on the day of the hearing . . . without having any of that information available to us. It is a keen and important part of this legislation.”


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