Thomas Edison State College, a Trenton-based school specializing in distance education, has been spared from state plans to merge the school with Rutgers.

Governor Chris Christie announced earlier this year that in his quest to cut at least $300 million from the state budget, certain state-run entities, such as the New Jersey State Museum and TESC, might have to be merged with larger operations such as Rutgers.

Part of the plan also was to deny TESC any state aid, when in previous years the school received roughly $5 million in annual support.

News of the potential merger of TESC into Rutgers set off a letter-writing and lobbying campaign to prevent the merger. U.S. 1 ran an Interchange by business editor Scott Morgan on April 7, asking the governor to reconsider.

Last week the state did reconsider. A revised version of the 2011 budget stated that TESC would get $1.8 million in aid (down from the $5.3 million it got for fiscal year 2010), and showed no signs of the merger for FY 2011. On Monday, June 28, the senate passed the budget.

The new budget also spares the state museum from being handed over from the Department of State to Rutgers, but leaves open the possibility that the War Memorial auditorium in Trenton could be turned over to private enterprise.

#b#Thomas Edison State College#/b#, 101 West State Street, Trenton 08608-1176; 888-442-8372; fax, 609-984-8447. George A. Pruitt, president.

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