NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University says it hit a new one-year fundraising record amid a time of rapid change for New Jersey's flagship state university.

The university announced Wednesday that it had raised nearly $188 million during the 2014-15 academic year, a 27 percent increase over the $148 million raised a year earlier.

The university says a surge in donations at the end of a 7½-year, $1 billion fundraising campaign helped.

In the last few years, Rutgers has benefited from a major overhaul of New Jersey's higher education system. It has also joined the high-profile Big Ten conference. Last week, it completed merging its law schools in Camden and Newark into one school.

Of the donations, $15 million are being used to create endowed chairs in biomedical and health sciences.