More than half of New Jersey’s school districts have shrunk in the last six years, reflecting wider population moves toward urban areas as well as net migration from the state. School districts are shrinking at a rapid rate in the Northwest of the state, as well as in Southern shore communities such as Avalon, Margate and Ventnor.
Two of South Jersey’s universities are in expansion mode and we thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast their vital statistics, side by side, using data from the state budget. You can see that enrollment is up at both universities (so are fees) and state-funded positions are also up at Rowan University. It will be interesting to see whether the chatter around Rowan’s plans to expand in Atlantic City comes to anything, since Stockton University is rolling out ever-bigger plans for the city. On the one hand, expansion could bring more jobs and investment to the area, but on the other hand these institutions don’t pay property taxes. Since we wrote about Stockton’s plans to further expand in Atlantic City, we’ve also heard more people questioning the university’s debt load and its tuition costs, so we looked at the numbers. The amount of state support that Rowan receives is much greater – my guess is that this is tied to Rowan’s medical programs, but it’s not clear. And Stockton is slightly more expensive than Rowan, by these measures.