By Robin Rieger

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – If New Jersey voters pass the $750 million bond referendum on the ballot for capital improvements at the state’s public and private colleges and universities, it’s possible the new unified science center currently under construction at Richard Stockton College could become even bigger. And school president Dr. Herman Saatkamp said it would help the school reduce the number of rejection letters it’s forced to give.

“This last year, we had 6,200 applications for 1,000 positions in our first year class,” Dr. Saatkamp explained.

He said it would also stop the statewide “brain drain,” as some call it.

“New Jersey has this distinction…of being number one in the nation for exporting students outside the state to get their college degrees. Research also shows that very few come back,” he said.

The measure received bipartisan support in Trenton, but a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll indicates 87 percent of registered voters have heard little or nothing about the bond question. Of those who were familiar, 48 percent said they would support it, while 34 percent said they would not. Students we spoke to favor it.

“It would help us because more students would be able to learn, and it makes the facility a lot better,” one person said.

And teacher and taxpayer Amy Hadley supports it, even in this economy.

“Nobody wants to pay higher taxes, but I think we are investing in the future for our children and our local economy,” Hadley said.

NJ AFL-CIO president Charles Wowkanech said, in part, in a supportive statement:

“Ballot Question #1 represents an investment in our children, grandchildren, and in our future. At the same time, this initiative invests in the present moment by creating jobs, enhancing student education, and benefitting businesses in our state.”

Richard Stockton College has started an email campaign to educate the public nearby about how the referendum would impact the local area.

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