New Jersey Places Major Emphasis on Education

New Jersey puts a high emphasis on higher education, with the state being home to nearly 60 universities, colleges and technical schools.

M.V. Greene
On Friday, September 9, 2011 - 13:56

The strength of the Garden State's economy is rooted in its highly educated and work-ready employee base, the product of heavy investment in its schools and a superior network of colleges and universities. 

New Jersey is home to 31 public and 33 private colleges and universities that combined have more than 440,000 students enrolled.

Rutgers: A Research Powerhouse

The public university system is anchored by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, a research powerhouse that in addition to its flagship location in New Brunswick includes campuses in Camden and Newark.

With undergraduate and graduate enrollment of more than 56,000, Rutgers draws students from all 50 states and more than 125 countries. U.S News & World report ranked Rutgers in its top 25 for all public colleges and universities in the nation. More impressive, more than 200,000 of its 390,000 alumni live in New Jersey, where they help to supply the state with a highly knowledgeable workforce.

The university offers more than 100 bachelor's, 100 master's and 80 doctoral and professional degree programs across 175 academic departments, and it consistently awards among the highest number of doctorates annually among U.S. universities.

Rutgers research is leading to innovation in everything from cancer research to clean energy to airport security to supply chain management. The university drew nearly $434 million in public and private sponsored research in fiscal 2010 and is just one of 63 research institutions selected to be in the prestigious Association of American Universities.
The New Brunswick campus alone is home to 175 specialized centers that focus expertise on everything from AIDS research to fiber optics to nannostructured materials to water resource management. The New Brunswick campus includes 29 faculty members who are members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

Princeton Breeds Leaders

The state is also home to one of the world's most well-known centers of learning in Princeton University. The fourth-oldest chartered higher education institution in the country, Princeton's alums can be found in leadership roles at the highest levels of business, academics and government – including two U.S. Presidents and a Supreme Court Justice.
The university, with enrollment of about 5,000 undergraduate and 2,500 undergraduate students, topped Forbes list of America's best Colleges in 2009.

Princeton has major concentrations of research in engineering and applies sciences, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. The university's 1,355 research projects in its 2009-10 academic year dew more than $257 million in funding.
The university is home to the he U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a 433-employee national center for research that will lead to breakthroughs that make fusion a safe, economical, and environmentally attractive energy source.

Building Better Workforces

New Jersey's higher education institutions, large or small, public or private, all place a premium on turning out students that are workforce ready. The state's 19 community colleges provide degree and certificate programs designed to give graduates skills that will transfer into in-demand jobs or allow workers already on the job opportunities to brush up on skills or acquire new ones.

At Essex County College in downtown Newark, students can select from 60 different majors in high-demand fields such as business, allied health, engineering technologies, green energy and computer science.
“We offer an exciting journey that will transform your life and build a most promising future,” says Edythe Abdullah, Essex County College president.

Strong Support for Public Education

New Jersey's commitment to education is evident long before students arrive at a college campus. The state's public school systems are routinely among the best perform ing in the country.
Education Week's annual Quality Counts report card from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center ranked the state's public schools seventh in the nation based on a wide set of measures, ranked New Jersey among the top four states in “improving the opportunities for students to succeed throughout their lives” and second nationally in school financing.
Nearly 70 New Jersey high schools are on Newsweek's 2010 America's Best High Schools list. According to the National Assessment of Education Progress, New Jersey currently ranks tied for second in the United States in fourth-grade reading scores, and the state's eighth-graders currently top the nation in writing.
New Jersey also ranks among the top five states in both fourth-grade and eighth-grade math scores, and the ratio of pupils to teachers in New Jersey's public schools is 12.7 to 1 significantly lower than the national average of nearly 16 to 1.


M.V. Greene works as an independent writer, editor and communications consultant based in Owings Mills, Md., and Washington, D.C. Mr.