Meet the Decision Makers: The Governor’s Key Advisors - December 13, 2021 REGISTER

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New Jersey’s colleges and universities are working together to inspire students to recognize the value and benefits of a New Jersey education.

“Learn More, Earn More, Be More in New Jersey” (www.BeMoreinNJ.org) is the motto driving an ongoing public affairs campaign designed to publicize the outstanding qualities of New Jersey higher education institutions and stem the outmigration residents who leave to attend schools in other states.

The public affairs campaign was launched in May by the New Jersey Presidents’ Council (NJPC) after being initially delayed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also altered the admissions processes at higher education institutions that comprise the NJPC. The council includes leaders of two-year, four-year, research, public, private, and proprietary colleges and universities in New Jersey.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the fall of 2018 (the most-recent data available), New Jersey experienced the largest net loss of first-time students both regionally and nationally:  a loss of 28,259 students. By comparison, Pennsylvania experienced a net gain of 13,360 students and New York had a net gain of 8,912 students.

One of the many recommendations contained in NJBIA’s 2018 postsecondary education report, “The Education Equation: Strategies for Retaining and Attracting New Jersey’s Future Workforce,” included promoting the benefits of staying or coming to New Jersey for postsecondary education.

NJCP appointed a task force of higher education, business, and government leaders to work on developing a public affairs campaign featuring a website and video. Choose New Jersey, a privately funded economic development organization, is supporting the NJPC initiative by hosting www.BeMoreinNJ.org on its website.

New Jersey Institute of Technology President Joel Bloom, who serves as the president of NJPC, said New Jersey’s K-12 education system is recognized as the best in the nation, and that more people need to understand that higher education opportunities in New Jersey are equally strong.

“Those attending colleges and universities in our state benefit from an array of outstanding institutions, proximity to major financial market centers and growth industries, unsurpassed diversity and culture, as well as post-graduation earning power that places them ahead of their peers from other states,” Bloom said.

NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka, who serves on the NJPC task force, said there are multiple beneficiaries of this project: students, parents, taxpayers and employers who rely on having a skilled New Jersey workforce.

“This campaign is an investment in retaining students in the state and bolstering the quality of the workforce,” Siekerka said.

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