Higher-ed: 35 N.J. schools get nearly $29 million to address impact of pandemic (We’ve got the totals)

Funding is part of the ‘Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge’

Thirty-five schools in New Jersey will share nearly $29 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education to address the impact of the pandemic and support the core priorities of the state plan for higher education.

Gov. Phil Murphy and Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges said the grants are part of the second round of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding – and will go to both public and private institutions that receive state operating aid. 

The funds will help support the launch of the “Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge,” a competitive grant program to implement best practices develop sustainable system-wide reforms as the state builds long-term resiliency. 

In implementing these strategies, institutions will be focusing on students who are historically disadvantaged, including underrepresented minorities, low-income students, and working-age adults. Many of these populations were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, which resulted in declines in enrollments, challenges to student success, and unprecedented unemployment figures. Funding will help boost college completion and ensure a robust pipeline of talent is matched to workforce demands. 

Institutions chose from a series of interventions reflecting the five core priority areas of the state plan for high education: expanding opportunities for students to gain early college exposure; improving college affordability; fostering student success; promoting safe and inclusive learning environments; and cultivating research, innovation, and talent.

Through this funding, institutions will be embarking on projects including expanding dual enrollment programs to increase access and eliminate affordability barriers for low-income students; expanding wraparound supports to help encourage student retention by addressing barriers such as food insecurity or lack of childcare; and implementing free-of-cost bridge programs serving first-generation and Pell-eligible students as they transition from high school to college and/or from virtual to in-person learning. Other initiatives include expanding student mental health services and building peer mentor programs; and increasing student success in gateway courses, particularly math, to help reduce students’ cost and ensure success in science, technology, education and mathematics.

“Our institutions of higher education have provided a high-quality of education to our students throughout the pandemic, despite challenging circumstances,” Murphy said. “Supporting our institutions will continue to be a priority as they work to provide an equitable educational experience for students, prepare them for the jobs of the future and meet challenges ahead.”

Bridges said it’s all a part of the greater goal.

“Through this critical federal funding, New Jersey is prioritizing students’ needs and ensuring our workforce will be ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s post-pandemic economy,” he said. “We appreciate that institutions are committing to this challenge and look forward to learning from the innovative best practices implemented, as we strive to meet the state’s goal of 65 percent of residents earning a high-quality credential by 2025.”

Here’s a breakdown of the awards:

Four-year schools:

  • Rowan: $1.5 million
  • Rutgers-Newark: $1.5 million
  • Seton Hall: $1.5 million
  • William Paterson: $1.5 million
  • NJIT: $1.4 million
  • Fairleigh Dickinson: $1.4 million
  • Montclair State: $1.3 million
  • The College of New Jersey: $1 million
  • Rutgers-Camden: $875,000
  • Stevens: $849,000
  • Kean: $833,000
  • Stockton: $662,000
  • Rutgers-New Brunswick: $638,000
  • Bloomfield College: $500,000
  • Drew: $500,000
  • Rider: $500,000
  • Saint Peter’s: $500,000
  • Saint Elizabeth: $499,000
  • New Jersey City University: $498,000
  • Thomas Edison: $483,000
  • Ramapo: $283,000
  • Georgian Court: $200,000

Two-year schools:

  • Essex CC: $1 million
  • Mercer CC: $1 million
  • Passaic County CC: $1 million
  • Rowan College at Burlington: $1 million
  • Union CC: $999,000
  • Raritan Valley CC: $983,000
  • Camden CC: $814,000
  • Bergen CC: $562,000
  • Middlesex College: $542,000
  • Hudson CC: $500,000
  • Atlantic Cape CC: $414,000
  • Salem CC: $398,000
  • Brookdale CC: $374,000