TRENTON – Higher Education Secretary Rochelle Hendricks spoke favorably of the controversial plan that calls for Rowan University to absorb the Rutgers University Camden campus today, saying the reconfigured university will help bolster capacity in a region that has been “shortchanged” over the years.
She said that while 30 percent of the state’s population lives in South Jersey, only 12.5 percent of “higher education seats” are located in that region. She said degree attainment in several South Jersey counties is much lower than their North Jersey counterparts: 24.19 percent vs. 37.14 percent
Hendricks said the southern region is the fastest growing area of the state and higher education must keep up with it.
“The best way to resolve this imbalance is to empower a university in the Southern region to build upon relationships that are already underway,” Hendricks said in her statement before the Assembly Budget Committee.
If the plan goes forward, Hendricks said that by 2020, the reconfigured Rowan University would be able to hold 20,000 undergraduate students and 5,000 graduate students.
“Rowan will be positioned to build the capacity to compete for and receive federal and private sector research grants that will help drive the university and its medical school to new distinction.”