TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says higher education will be the first area to see increased spending once the state’s economy turns around.

The governor made the promise Tuesday as he announced recommendations of his task force on higher education.

Christie cut $181 million in aid to higher education this year.

The task force chaired by former governor Tom Kean made 70 recommendations. They include more autonomy for college presidents and efforts to stem migration of New Jersey students to out-of-state colleges.

The state’s 31 public and 32 independent higher education institutions enroll 429,000 students. They’ve been hampered by a lack of state capital investment and increased costs.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)