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Public-private partnerships boost NJ colleges

New Jersey colleges and universities are increasingly making deals with private companies to get dorms, parking garages and solar installations built on their campuses.

College students
Sandy Huffaker, Getty Images

Thanks to the New Jersey Economic Development Act, colleges have the ability to enter into public-private partnerships with for-profit companies in a manner that benefits all parties.

“The for-profit firms collect the revenue, and after a period of time, the property reverts back to the campus. The schools are not stuck with the debt they would incur to build the facility,” said Paul Shelly, director of communications for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities.

The agreement means colleges and universities can, in some cases, hold the line on tuition and fees and make other improvements, such as purchase new science lab equipment.

Shelly stressed state revenue is extremely limited, so the colleges need to have every possible avenue they can to bring in revenue and supplement what they’re getting from the state.

“The trend is healthy for our schools because they’ve had growing ability to manage their resources, to find new revenue streams,” Shelly said. “It’s been a great thing for jobs in New Jersey because it helps benefit construction jobs.”

Towns surrounded by the state’s colleges and universities can also see a benefit when a local school becomes part of a development project with a private company.  “It upgrades the area and improves the economy in that area,  It’s great for the towns as well,” Shelly said.





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