NEW BRUNSWICK (AP) — Rutgers University says it hit a new one-year fundraising record amid a time of rapid change for New Jersey's flagship state university.

College Avenue Student Center on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers (Connie Lee)

The university announced Wednesday that it had raised nearly $188 million during the 2014-15 academic year, a 27 percent increase over the $148 million raised a year earlier.

The university says a surge in donations at the end of a 7½-year, $1 billion fundraising campaign helped.

In the last few years, Rutgers has benefited from a major overhaul of New Jersey's higher education system. It has also joined the high-profile Big Ten conference. Last week, it completed merging its law schools in Camden and Newark into one school.

Of the donations, $15 million are being used to create endowed chairs in biomedical and health sciences.

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