UMDNJ needs more state funding, reps tell Assembly Budget committee

NEWARK – UMDNJ (or its successor) needs more money from the state for capital infrastructure improvements and to continue fulfilling its safety net mission, representatives from the school and its partner hospital testified before the Assembly Budget Committee during a hearing on Monday morning.

Denise Rodgers, the interim president of UMDNJ, said that even if there were no plans to shuffle higher education in New Jersey being proposed, she would still be in front of the committee asking for funds.

Rodgers told the committee that UMDNJ needs at least $30 million per year over the next five years.

Rodgers also said she had concerns about the restructuring of higher education that would see UMDNJ being primarily absorbed by Rutgers.  

Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, (D-32), Secaucus, said his committee “doesn’t know a heck of a lot (about the finances of the merger) because we haven’t gotten a lot of information.”

Rodgers said the bonded debt of the university needs to be “handled fairly” during the process, calling it the “greatest financial risk” to UMDNJ.

James Gonzalez, the acting president and CEO of The UMDNJ University Hospital, said his hospital also needs additional direct funding from the state.

Of $128 million in charity care services provided by the hospital, Gonzalez said the hospital received $96 million in return.

Gonzalez added that the hospital will need $25 million in additional support over the years to replace outdated equipment.

Since UMDNJ is hosting the hearing, Rogers and Gonzalez spoke first. The same courtesy was provided to administrators at Montclair State University during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing last week in Montclair, who also used their time to request assistance for their institution.  

UMDNJ needs more state funding, reps tell Assembly Budget committee