A Senate panel has unanimously advanced a major higher education restructuring bill that reconfigures Rutgers, Rowan and the University of Medicine and Dentistry.

The 5-0 vote came after hours of testimony before the Senate Higher Education Committee, much of it negative.

Academics oppose the loss of authority over their campuses.

Sen. Ron Rice urged that the vote be delayed until further discussions could be held.

The panel advanced the bill despite lingering unanswered questions about how much it will cost to combine the schools.

The measure is set to go before the Senate Budget Committee on Monday.

Gov. Chris Christie wants the restructuring framework in place by June 30.

The Assembly has not scheduled a hearing on the bill.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)