The New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education announced that it has awarded nearly $400 million in grant funding to support the infrastructure and technology needs of New Jersey’s higher education sector.
The funding is part of a joint solicitation of four revolving Capital Facilities Bond programs, and will go towards 54 projects across the state. The four revolving bond programs through which funding is being released are the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund (CIF), the Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund (HEFT), the Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund (ELF), and the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund (HETI).
“New Jersey remains committed to investing in our students, so that more bright young people are motivated to pursue a higher education right here in our state,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “In many respects, that starts with campus facilities and resources. By funding capital improvement projects that both revitalize and expand campus offerings, we not only affirm our commitment to high-quality postsecondary education but demonstrate a commitment to growing talent across the Garden State.”
The four bond programs were established by the state legislature. The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education said the bond programs “form a critical piece of New Jersey’s commitment to directly address funding for the preservation, renewal, and construction of facilities and equipment at New Jersey’s institutions of higher education as well as their technology needs.”
“Our institutions of higher education are critical economic engines and play an essential role in educating and training the next generation of New Jersey’s workforce,” said Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian K. Bridges. “Their success depends upon the ability to provide the 21st century learning environments that today’s students demand from a higher education experience. Through these grant awards, campuses will be able to fund repairs, enhance their physical locations, and build for the future.”
According to a press release, the funding will be used to facilitate the transformation of campus spaces to “meet the needs of 21st century learners.” This includes projects to create flexible, multi-purpose spaces, which offer both physical space and state-of-the-art connectivity able to support virtual learning, research, and collaboration.
“Since 1994, New Jersey’s CIF, HEFT, ELF, and HETI grant programs have provided approximately $1.7 billion in State-supported investment in New Jersey’s colleges and universities,” said Executive Director of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority Sheryl Stitt. “Today’s announcement of an additional nearly $400 million in grant awards demonstrates a continued commitment to providing modernized classrooms, labs, and technological infrastructure at New Jersey’s colleges and universities that are on par with the best schools in the world.”
The state listed how much funding was being awarded from each bond program:
- Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund: $190.9 million for 10 awards;
- Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund: $89.6 million for five awards;
- Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund: $82 million for 25 awards; and
- Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund: $32.5 million for 24 awards.
“We want to make sure our educational institutions remain competitive in order to keep our talented New Jersey students close to home, as well as attract out-of-state students,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “By investing in high-need fields like engineering and healthcare, and modernizing and upgrading classrooms, we ensure that New Jersey’s colleges and universities will advance learning and innovation. Increased investment in education leads to greater economic growth, which will benefit all residents.”