Author Archive: birdofprey

The Myth of Outmigration

promoted by Rosi

A large number of New Jersey students chose to go to college out of state, and have for at least the past 40 years.  This is a frequently stated rationale for the restructuring of higher education, particularly in South Jersey.   A review of research on this topic does not support the idea that combining or more closely joining the Rutgers University Camden and Rowan University would keep more students at home.  In 2009 Seton Hall doctoral student Alyssa McCloud wrote her dissertation,  Migration Patterns of College Students in New Jersey:  A Synthesis of the Data and Literature, and reviewed all existing studies and data on the subject.

She found that:

• Students who leave their home state for college have higher academic ability and higher family income (41).  NJ students out migration by county reflects the county income; students from more affluent counties are more likely to go out of state for college (158)

• Students prefer to migrate to neighboring states; New Jersey students who attend college out of state primarily choose colleges in New York and Pennsylvania (43).

• Students who go to college out of state most often attend a private college (45); academic reputation was the most frequent reason NJ students chose an out of state college (159); NJ students who want to attend public schools tend to stay in state (167)

• Greater state support of higher education leads to less out migration and more in migration (48).  States with more schools and more programs retain more students (53)

• First generation college students (those whose parents did not go to college) are less likely to go out of state for college (52)

• Capacity (the number of spots available) had no effect on NJ student migration (137)

• New Jersey has a relatively small system in comparison to most other states in terms of number of students, faculty, and institutions (139)

• Rutgers is one of the highest quality institutions in the state, and this is known to be an important draw for high-achieving students (150).  Princeton and Rutgers attracted 45% of out of state students coming to New Jersey for college (163)

I have looked for outmigration statistics by county and have not been able to locate them, so I cannot report on the difference in outmigration in South Jersey as opposed to other areas of the state.  Since students who leave the state tend to be from wealthier families and tend to choose private colleges and universities, it doesn’t make sense to restructure public universities in an attempt to keep them here.

Since students who do go out of state for a college education step over one state border to do so, to New York or Pennsylvania, it is impossible to say whether they step back across that state line when they graduate.  One prime example of this is Gov. Chris Christie, who attended college in Delaware and then came back home.  At least two of his senior administrators, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs also went out of state for college and then came back to New Jersey.

It is important to make in-state higher education as attractive as possible to New Jersey’s high school students, restructuring higher education, especially in South Jersey, is not the way to do it.

Don Norcross Again States Support of Rutgers Camden

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This past weekend Sen. Donald Norcross spoke to students who have been admitted to Rutgers Camden for next fall.  He again reiterated his support for the campus, and for keeping it part of Rutgers University.  There was no mention of any merger with Rowan University.  He has posted video of his remarks (5 minutes long) on YouTube.  The specific comments about the campus staying part of Rutgers is near the end.

This evening Sen. Norcross spoke to a group of alumni this evening and made similar remarks, even putting on a “Save Rutgers Camden” t-shirt.  No video available of that so far.  

It will be very interesting to see what, if any, legislation is developed regarding the restructuring of higher education in the state, especially in reference to UMDNJ and Rutgers.    

Sen Norcross On Rutgers Camden

Today the Camden County Library System opened a new branch library, on the Camden campus of Rutgers University.  A number of officials spoke at the opening ceremony, including Chancellor Wendell Pritchett who made it clear that Rutgers Camden was open to partnering with other organizations and institutions.  Not explicitly said, but openly intimated, was that the campus did not welcome a hostile takeover.

State Sen. Donald Norcross was another speaker.  He said as long as he was alive Rutgers Camden would exist.  This would seem to preclude any support for amputating the campus from Rutgers and giving it to Rowan.  It is unlikely that Rutgers would allow its name to remain on a campus that was not part of the larger system.

Sen. Norcross’s statement was unambiguous.  He stated his support for a Rutgers campus in Camden.  

Two staffers from Sen Lautenberg’s office were present and were warmly greeted by a number of people, who expressed their gratitude for Lautenberg’s support of the campus.

Camden County Freeholder Ian Leonard and Camden Mayor Dana Redd also spoke at the opening ceremony.

Rowan Hires PR Firm

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Rowan University is advertising for a PR firm to help with internal communications, brand management, and merger issues relating to the the Barer Committee’s recommendation that Rutgers University’s Camden Campus be peeled way from Rutgers and made a part of Rowan University.  There has been more opposition to this than expected.  The full request for a quote, a 10 page pdf, can be found here.

McCormick Visits Rutgers Camden

Last Friday, Rutgers President Dick McCormick met with three groups on the university’s Camden Campus.  One of these meetings was a regularly scheduled University Senate meeting.  The other two were with faculty and students, to talk about the governor’s proposal to severe the Camden Campus from Rutgers and give it to Rowan University.

The first meeting was with faculty.  While the auditorium door was closed McCormick did not ask that the meeting not be taped.  There were a few themes to his remarks.  

One was that it is clear after last Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting that at this point in time the Board would not approve the measure.  Both the Rutgers Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees would have to agree before the change could be made.  There is general approval of the central part of the plan, that the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, the School of Public Health, and the Cancer Institute merge with Rutgers New Brunswick.  There is already a long history of collaboration among these organizations.  In fact, the medical school used to be part of Rutgers (see details below).  However, the loss of the Camden Campus was very unpopular among the Trustees.   This throws a monkey wrench into the works.  McCormick said that present these two parts of the plan  were combined at the request of South Jersey political forces.

A second theme was that, although not put into these exact terms, McCormick would give up the Camden Campus in order to get a New Brunswick medical school.  However, as stated above, it is not his decision.  Once the stance of the Board of Trustees became apparent McCormick said the situation had changed.  He says he and others tried very hard to separate the parts of the proposal, and to offer alternatives, such as a separate budget line for Camden and / or greater collaboration between Rutgers Camden and Rowan.  

A third theme is that one reason he won’t fight harder is fear of retribution.  He was asked why the University didn’t simply say no to the whole proposal and then suggest a path forward more to its liking.  The theory being the state has limited options on what to do with UMDNJ, the parent university for the state’s freestanding medical schools.  McCormick said there was a fear of reprisal in regards to the university’s budget.  He said in 1970 the university gave up it’s medical school (renamed the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School) because the state said if it didn’t all money to support the school would be withheld.  While in this situation no specific threat had been issued he felt it was a possibility.

These three themes were repeated at each of the three meetings, although he backpedaled on the issue of budget reprisal later in the day.

There are two other interesting statements he made during the day.  One was that regardless of how the situation resolved he thought more higher education money would be going to South Jersey.  The other is that he thought South Jersey politicians wanted higher education in South Jersey to be more responsive to them.  McCormick cited the immediate past history of UMDNJ as a cautionary tale if that option is followed too far.  (This would be a reference to the case of former State Senator Wayne Bryant who had a “no show” job at UMDNJ and one reason why he is currently in prison.)

At all of the meetings students, faculty, staff, University Senators, and alumni spoke against the loss of the Camden Campus of Rutgers.  One man from Newark teared up as he recounted how his life had been changed for the better by the University Scholars program, that had led him to be a student at Rutgers where he had returned as a teacher.  He did not want Camden youth to miss that opportunity.

McCormick is stepping down in a few months and is guaranteed a very well-paying job in the history department on the New Brunswick campus ($300,000+).  Currently all three universities involved (UMDNJ, Rowan, and Rutgers) have interim or lame duck presidents.    

Lautenberg Questions Rowan Takeover of Rutgers Camden

Sen. Frank Lautenberg is asking some good questions about the proposed takeover of Rutgers Camden by Rowan University.  According to the Camden Courier Post (“Lautenberg raises questions over proposed merger,”) Lautenberg has written to Gov. Christie asking, among other things, how the different levels of tuition between the two schools will be handled, and for a list of facilities that would be handed over to Rowan.  There are a number of Rutgers programs in South Jersey, including the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory and the Pinelands Field Station.

This is the kind of detail that has been missing in all the conversation about severing the Camden Campus of Rutgers and subsuming it into Rowan University.  Hopefully Gov. Christie will make a public response.

Other details are coming from, surprise, surprise, the interim President of Rowan, Ali Houshmand, who seems to have had inside information in this matter for months.  He has posted an FAQ on the takeover, providing some information on what current Rutgers Camden faculty will be doing (“off campus and online programs”) and benchmarks for the first five years of the takeover, such as who will be living in the student housing currently being built in Camden (law and medical students).  How does he know this?  If he has a blueprint for how this will work, let’s see the whole thing.  

Kudos to Sen. Lautenberg for standing up and asking for some solid information on what has, heretofore, been a “ponies and rainbows” proposal.  

And while we’re talking about making information public, it would be very interesting to know why Rowan’s Middle States report is passworded.  Rutgers and most other schools make their Middle States self-study public.  Rowan’s can only be viewed by those with a Rowan login.

Rowan Advertises for M&A Firm

Rowan University, in its rush to forcibly take control of the Camden Campus of Rutgers University, is not waiting to see if the Barer Commission’s recommendations are acted upon by either an executive order from the governor or by legislative action, or amended or not acted upon at all.

It has posted an ad asking for bids from mergers & acquisitions law firms.  Lest their intentions not be clear, the RFP on the Rowan site starts out referencing the Barer Commission’s report and states:

It is the intention of Rowan University at this time to engage the services of a law firm with expertise in mergers and acquisitions to assist Rowan as it explores this exciting opportunity.

Rowan has consistently been ahead of the curve on this subject, with the acting president of the university talking of the takeover as a certainty in November, months before the commission released it’s report.  (see “At Rowan, an early acceptance of merger plan,” by Kevin Riordan in the Philadelphia Inquirer 2/02 for details).  One wonders if Rowan has inside information that the governor will use an executive order to proceed.

If so, both seem to have forgotten that both the Rutgers University Board of Governors and the Rutgers University Board of Trustees must agree.  The Board of Governors met in Camden last week and heard over 2 hours of testimony from those opposed to the separation of the Camden Campus from the university.  President McCormick stated at the beginning of that meeting that Camden was an essential part of Rutgers.  

The haste that Rowan shows in advertising for an M&A firm before any firm action has been taken is somewhat unseemly.  Even if Rowan is being given inside information and advance notice it might look better if they gave at least perfunctory attention to the fact that Rutgers Camden is still a functioning part of the State University of New Jersey.  There has been some refinement of terminology recently, discussion of a partnership and not an acquisition or takeover.  Hiring an M&A firm to plan, and signing a contract to pay for, an acquisition when the form and even existence of any such connection is uncertain, is premature.  

(For more information follow the archives section of or follow the Endangered Raptor on twitter — @EndangrdRaptr)

Background on Proposed Rowan Takeover of Rutgers Camden

Feedback from the Rutgers & Rowan communities is invited and encouraged. – Promoted by Rosi

The proposal to merger Rutgers Camden and Rowan University, with its new medical school, is one of several proposals made by Gov. Christie’s Advisory Committee on the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.   Their report, a 57 page pdf, is available on the web.  

The bulk of the report concerns the restructuring of UMDNJ.   Two of the committee’s charges pertained to South Jersey.  One was “whether UMDNJ.’s South Jersey .-based schools should be merged with any

of  the  senior  public  higher  education institutions in  South  Jersey” and the other “how graduate medical education should be  delivered in South Jersey.”  

UMDNJ has a medical school in Stratford (Camden County), the School of Osteopathic Medicine.  The Advisory Committee decided against merging that school with any other institution and essentially leaving it as an independent school.  

Cooper Hospital in Camden had had an agreement with another UMDNJ institution, Robert Woods Johnson Medical School, that allowed medical students to do two years of their school program at Cooper.  Cooper decided to open its own full medical school which became attached to Rowan University.  (For the full story behind this read “How Camden got a medical school” on  It is this medical school which forms the basis of the Advisory Committee’s recommendation that Rutgers Camden be separated from Rutgers and subsumed under Rowan University.  Another Adivsory Committee proposal is that Robert Woods Johnson Medical School leave the UMDNJ umbrella and become a part of Rutgers University.  There are other proposals in the Committee’s report and none are dependent upon or linked to any of the others.

Rally Yesterday at Rutgers Camden

Students, alumni, faculty, and staff of Rutgers Camden held a townhall meeting/ rally yesterday to discuss the proposed takeover of the campus by Rowan University.   The main venue, the Gordon Theater, which seats over 600, filled up and the overflow attendance was directed to the student center for a live wireless broadcast.  That area also holds hundreds, and it also filled up.  Smaller groups gathered in a few other satellite locations on campus.

Chancellor Wendell Pritchett moderated the discussion, after expressing his own opposition to this plan to combine the two institutions.  Students who spoke talked about the reputation of Rutgers, the value of a Rutgers degree, their inability to attend the larger Rutgers campuses due to family or work requirements, the importance of having a university with an international reputation in the area, their sense of community, and the outreach the university does to non-traditional students such as returning veterans, older students, and those with family responsibilities.  One student recalled his first visit to Rutgers Camden, at age 7, coming to class with his college student mother.  He returned as a student himself.  

The faculty talked about the importance of the Rutgers name when recruiting new professors.  One recounted a recent conversation in an interview with a potential hire.  When asked why she was interested in the job she said it was the possibility of working at Rutgers.  One of the law faculty talked about the potential legal issues with the proposed combination of the two schools.

Rutgers Camden students are not known for activism.  Like many commuter students they have families and / or jobs in addition to college classes and papers, with limited time for campus events.  The turnout yesterday was geometrically larger than the turnout for any other campus event in over a decade.  It is a sign of how important this issue is to the students and alums.