The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated New Jersey’s colleges, causing multimillion-dollar shortfalls that have forced layoffs, declines in enrollment, and financial and mental health difficulties for students, a number of college leaders, students and professors told a state Senate committee Thursday. During a 2½-hour hearing, members of the Senate Higher Education Committee were told how schools pivoted to mostly remote learning, what their virus testing protocols are and how they relaxed grading policies. They also were told about the financial impact of the pandemic on the institutions — more than $400 million in lost revenues and increased costs. To read the full story.