Gov. Phil Murphy on Jan. 19 pledged his support for three bills aimed at ensuring fiscal accountability at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities.

Those three bills are:

A4970/S3406: Requires public institutions of higher education to submit annual fiscal monitoring report; authorizes Secretary of Higher Education to appoint State monitor of these institutions

A4971/S3407: Requires public institution of higher education to post certain information on institution’s website

A4967/S3436: Revises training requirements for governing board members of public institutions of higher education

“And when these bills come to my desk, I will sign them,” Murphy said during a visit to Union High School’s library. “This is an unusual event for me because I normally don’t opine on these bills until they’re on our desk … this is an exception for good reason.”

Murphy added that “making our public colleges and universities more attractive requires a lot of long-term, institutional investment. But these investments must be sustainable, and moreover, they must be responsible.”

On hand for the afternoon event were legislative partners and higher education advocates state Sen. Joseph Cryan and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, as well as Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges.

“The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education takes very seriously our role in serving as responsible stewards of taxpayers’ investments in higher education in creating greater transparency for students and families across the state as they make critical decisions that will impact their future,” Dr. Bridges said.

“We’re pleased these bills are being discussed,” said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera, “and this is a first step toward more transparency, accountability and oversight in higher education. Our colleges and universities are in danger of downsizing or closing altogether, so our hope is that all three bills are fast-tracked. From AFTNJ’s perspective, what’s equally as critical to the future of higher education is the other legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Jasey and Sen. Cryan: A4733/S3119, which would establish a commission on oversight of public institutions of higher education.”

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