August 14, 2018 | ° F

Corzine's cuts carry hefty costs in U. budget

Students might see both a rise in tuition and cuts to student services next year, as Gov. Jon S. Corzine, in a proposed budget, called for a nearly $40 million cut to the University last month.

Higher education is not the only area that might receive cuts, said Tom Bell, the governor's spokesman. The cuts, necessary to lift the state out of a billion dollar debt, are consistent across all government expenditures.

"Every department is being asked to reduce and look at reductions," Bell said, citing the cuts branching through all of state funding. "It was spread out - not only in higher education, but also in state government," Bell said.

Although this cut would be less than half than of the $100 million axed from the University two years ago, Nancy Winterbauer, the vice president for University Budgeting, said the decrease would spread funding too thin.

"The cuts this time are coming on a very, very stretched budget," she said. "While it's certainly better than two years ago, units are going to be asked to cut budgets on top of budgets that have already been cut to the bone."

Winterbauer said it was too soon to speculate about whether the budget would create tuition inflation or losses to student services. The primary focus of the University right now is getting cuts restored before the state legislature approves a budget July 1.

When the final budget is unveiled, and if the University finds itself in a budget shortfall, Winterbauer said Rutgers would do what it always does in these situations: try to strike a balance between raising the tuition and cutting student services.

Raising the tuition too much means many students in New Jersey could not come to the University, she said, and cutting too many services would undermine quality education. So the school must adjust both and not too much on either side.

"Two words we use is access and excellence," she said.

Winterbauer said they would create a budget advisory committee soon to help streamline costs at the University, offering Rutgers financial advice.

Two years ago when the budget was cut drastically, the University pulled together a large committee consisting of faculty and staff. She said the group offered advice on financial issues and was very helpful.

An e-mail circulated by University President Richard L. McCormick to the Rutgers community said leaders would continue to push for more funding and urged readers to keep pushing as well.

"That does not mean the cuts are set in stone," he wrote, encouraging readers to attend the first New Jersey Senate budget hearing today at 9 a.m. in the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus.

Michelle Walbaum

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