NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) _ Rutgers University President Edward J. Bloustein died Saturday of an apparent heart attack in the Bahamas, a university spokeswoman said. He was 64.

Bloustein, a philospher and lawyer, was attending a business meeting in Nassau when he collapsed Saturday afternoon, spokeswoman Ruth Scott said.

He became the 17th president of Rutgers in 1971 and was among the dozen longest-serving presidents of public colleges and universities in the country. More than 47,000 students attend the 25 colleges and schools of Rutgers, the eighth oldest institution in the country.

''Ed Bloustein was an individual committed to excellence in education and to the cause of academic freedom,'' Gov. Thomas Kean said in a statement.

In accepting the presidency, Bloustein said he took on the challenge of an urban university because ''that's where the major problems of higher education are and I want to be there.''

He frequently testified before congressional committees on the need to provide added research funds to the nation's universities, and he recently called for requiring community service for all college students in the United States.

In 1984, he was chairman of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, which represents 140 institutions in the United States.

Before coming to Rutgers, Bloustein was president of Bennington College in Vermont from 1965 to 1971, and professor of law at New York University from 1961 to 1965.

Bloustein was born in New York City. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa at New York University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. He went to Oxford University as a Fulbright scholar and received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from Wadham College in 1950. He also received doctoral degrees in law and philosophy from Cornell University.

Bloustein is survived by two daughters, Elise and Lori. His wife, Ruth, died last year.