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N.J. Senate President Steve Sweeney speaks during a town hall describing his Path to Progress report and why it will benefit the state's taxpayers in the Fannie Lou Hamer room at the Stockton University Atlantic City Academic Center in April.

When Stockton University’s Board of Trustees agreed to move forward with expanding its Atlantic City campus, college President Harvey Kesselman said the plan could only work with more state aid.

That aid may be coming in the latest budget approved by the New Jersey Legislature this week, which includes an additional $4 million for the state university, among others. It is unclear whether Gov. Phil Murphy will approve the budget, which includes cuts to several of the governor’s proposals, including an increased tax on those making more than $1 million a year.

Murphy said Friday that “all options are on the table,” but he’ll meet the state’s constitutional requirement to enact a balanced budget.

Kesselman on Friday said the state support is crucial for Stockton’s expansion in Atlantic City, especially as the college receives the second lowest amount of aid per student of all the state colleges at $1,995, just over the research institute Montclair State University at $1,912. The state average is $3,570 per student.

“As a state-designated Anchor Institution in Atlantic City, we are committed to contributing to the economic diversity of the city and providing new opportunities for New Jersey residents,” he said, thanking Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin and the rest of the Legislature. “The additional funds will allow Stockton to enhance its programs in Atlantic City and remain affordable and accessible to students, providing more options to help stem the out-migration of New Jersey residents to colleges in other states. We are hopeful the governor will agree.”

The second phase of Stockton’s Atlantic City campus, which already received approval from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, will be a six-story, $64 million residential complex across from O’Donnell Park. The building will have space for 405 beds, helping the college meet its expansion goal of more than 10,000 by next fall.

Stockton is in negotiations with the Atlantic City Development Corp., which is developing the project.

AC Devco President Christopher Paladino was not immediately available for comment but said last month he would approach the CRDA board to request a loan of $10 million to help with funding for the expansion. He expects to break ground in September and finish by summer 2021.

Contact: 609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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