By David Madden

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – New Jersey legislators have approved a far-reaching reorganization of the state’s higher education system. But it does not include a plan to, in effect, merge the operations of Rutgers-Camden and Rowan Universities.

The two schools will be able to share in health science programs under a joint board when the legislation takes effect in a year after it’s approved by Governor Chris Christie, which is expected.

The compromise was hammered out after legislators were advised that any plan would have to be approved by the Rutgers Board of Governors and its Board of Trustees. Both panels have insisted they retain control of campuses in Newark, New Brunswick and Camden.

The Board of Governors issued conditional approval of the plan before the legislature acted. The Board of Trustees has yet to vote on the matter.

But opponents of the Rutgers-Rowan merger were elated by the move.

“We’ve got a local board that’s a majority of the trustees and governors. Our concerns will always be on the minds of the trustees and governors,” Andrew Shankman, a Rutgers-Camden history professor and opponent of the merger told KYW Newsradio.

“Yet there’s nothing the local board can do unless it’s approved by the general Rutgers board. So there is no ambiguity that we are a Rutgers campus.”

Among the questions still to be answered is the total cost of the reorganization.

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