By Steve Tawa

STRATFORD, N.J. (CBS) — A new law taking effect today in New Jersey reorganizes public higher education and officially establishes Rowan University’s school of osteopathic medicine.

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The restructuring immediately elevates Rowan’s status as one of only two universities in the country to boast medical school programs offering both D.O. and M.D. degrees (at its Stratford-based School of Osteopathic Medicine and at its Cooper Medical School, in Camden, respectively).

Rowan president Ali Houshmand says his goal is to double enrollment over the next ten years while increasing the school’s budget, endowment, and research grant funding.

“Unless we have an educated workforce, we’re not going to have a good economy,” he told KYW Newsradio today.  “All of them are interrelated.  That’s why we call ourselves an ‘economic engine.’ ”

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State senate president Steve Sweeney says strengthening the eds-and-meds community will help change the business climate in South Jersey.

“Creating an enhanced number of degrees will enable us to bring pharmaceutical companies and high-tech industries here that we didn’t have before,” he says.

The changes also gives Rowan status, alongside Rutgers, as one of New Jersey’s only two state-designated research institutions.

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