FILE - NJ Princeton student 3-10-2016

Students walk March 10, 2016, across the campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.

(The Center Square) – New Jersey plans to distribute $400 million in grants to higher education institutions in the states. The grants will support infrastructure, purchase equipment and provide for capital investments.

The grants will support what officials say are the growing needs of New Jersey’s higher education institutions and students while avoiding the need to raise tuition.

The state will release the funds as part of “a joint solicitation of four revolving bond programs” under the Capital Facilities Bond Program. Lawmakers established the program, which includes the four funds, to address funding for the preservation, renewal, and construction of facilities and equipment at New Jersey’s higher education institutions, and create a regular financing mechanism.

“Topping up these funds now is the right thing to do,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during a news conference announcing the investment. “Interest rates today remain at near historic lows yet the needs of our institutions remain at near historic highs.”

According to Murphy, it marks the first addition of new funding to the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund (CIF) since 2015. The fund includes a mix of money from issuing bonds, lottery proceeds, state allocations and earnings from interest and investment.

It also marks the first new investments in eight years in the other three funds – the Higher Education Facilities Trust (HEFT) Fund, the Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund (ELF) and the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure (HETI) Fund.

“Every dollar we provide at the state level is a dollar that does not have to be tacked on to a tuition bill,” Murphy said. “This is how we ensure not only stronger facilities but fairer costs to students and families.”

A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for more information about how the state planned to top up the funds.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) associated with the solicitation is expected during the first quarter of 2022, and applications will be available at that time. Awards are expected in late 2022, pending legislative approval. 

The grants will offer funding opportunities for both public and private institutions.