Camden may be among the biggest winners from the new law to restructure the state's higher education system, according to a top development official for Rutgers University's campus there.
"That's extremely important to our campus because that brings us another level of autonomy and another set of dollars that we can use for expansion," said Greg Gamble, Rutgers-Camden's director of economic development. "But it also gives more freedom to work with some of our partners here in Camden."
The reorganization bill, signed into law in late August, calls for Rutgers-Camden to form a partnership with Rowan University in life sciences and research. As part of that framework, Rutgers, Rowan and Cooper Medical School could ultimately develop a joint medical sciences facility in the South Jersey city, Gamble said.
The legislation also gives Rutgers-Camden a greater share of and control over tuition paid by its students, so that "not all of the dollars will go up the Turnpike" to Rutgers' main campus in New Brunswick, he said. That could have implications for physical expansion going forward.
The campus last month marked the opening of a 12-story, $55 million graduate residence hall, which adds 350 beds to its housing stock. Rutgers-Camden has about 6,800 students, but hopes to expand to 10,000 with the help of additional housing, a new business school and other facilities.
"Obviously we're here to educate and perform research," Gamble said. "That's our primary goal, and in order to do that we have to have a student body that's engaged with our campus and really wants to be a part of the campus."
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