Colleges and universities generally have more options in acquiring funding for facilities. The institutions may rely on donations from alumni or other private sources, or they may raise fees to pay for building needs. But public institutions, likes their counterparts in K-12 education, have seen their budgets squeezed because of the economic difficulties of the last four years. Some of those institutions are turning to the ballot box for assistance.

Voters in New Jersey will go to the polls in November to decide whether to approve a $750 million bond proposal for the state’s higher-education facilities. The legislation placing the request on the ballot states that "deferral of state support for the construction and capital maintenance needs of higher education buildings has left the institutions with a critical lack of … academic facilities."

"Along with our commitment to support a bond referendum to invest three-quarters of a billion dollars in capital improvements, we are undertaking the broadest, boldest, and most important restructuring of New Jersey’s higher education landscape in decades," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.

The proposal calls for $300 million in funding to go to public research universities such as Rutgers. Other four-year public colleges would share $247.5 million. County colleges would get $150 million, and private colleges would get $52.5 million.

Voters have not been asked to approved a statewide bond for higher education since 1988, when they authorized a $350 million bond proposal.