Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced his support for three pieces of recently proposed legislation aimed at regulating the financial transparency of public universities in New Jersey, according to a press release.
The bills, if passed, would require public universities to be more forthcoming about spending and install new systems for training and overseeing financial decisions.
The first bill, A4970, would require public higher education institutions to submit a financial report to the state's secretary of higher education annually and undergo a fiscal audit every three years, according to the release.
The second bill that gained support from Murphy, A4971, would require the state’s public universities to share the information produced by A4970 on their websites in a format accessible to the general public.
The third bill, A4967, would require specific training for these universities' governing board members to ensure that they understand their responsibilities with regard to their organization's finances and clarify their specific role on the board, according to the release.
The three bills are currently being considered by the New Jersey General Assembly’s committee on higher education.
Murphy made the announcement alongside the state Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges and the bills' sponsors in the New Jersey Legislature, according to the release.
"When institutions are in financial distress, it is often the students and staff who are subjected to the greatest turbulence and uncertainty," Murphy said. “As public institutions of higher education, these schools are accountable to both the government and the taxpayers of our state."
Bridges said transparency is vital for the State Plan for Higher Education and will allow students to gain more from their investment in pursuing higher education.
"By building a stronger accountability model, New Jersey can better safeguard the long-term financial sustainability of our colleges and universities," Bridges said.