June 26, 2019 | 82° F

University increases tuition by 2.4 percent

Despite opposition from students at last week’s Board of Governors meeting, a 2.4 percent tuition increase was approved for the University.

In a statement sent out by Greg Trevor, senior director of University Media Relations, the 2.4 percent planned increase will raise tuition for an in-state School of Arts and Sciences student about $427 from last year. The increase also raises living on campus and meal plan costs to about $166 more from last year.

“In recent years, Rutgers’ in-state tuition and fee increases have been among the lowest for public institutions both in New Jersey and in the Association of American Universities,” said Gerald Harvey, chair of the Board of Governors. 

Compared to universities like the University of Maryland, Stony Brook University, Temple University and the University of Virginia, the Board felt the raise was necessary, the statement said. The increase was cited to help pay for increasing personnel salaries.

“For 2013-14, the base state appropriation for Rutgers — not including funding associated with the former UMDNJ units that have been transferred to Rutgers — is scheduled to remain unchanged,” the statement said. “Tuition and fee charges for students in the former UMDNJ schools that became part of Rutgers on July 1 were set earlier this year.”

In an article posted on NJ.com, Nancy Winterbauer, vice president for University Budgeting said she understands why students called for a tuition freeze, but said the school cannot compete with other universities if costs are not increased.

“I know lots of them are struggling," she said. "But we're a public institution where state funding is flat — it's at the level it was in the '90s — and we simply can't provide the quality of an education that our students need without raising tuition."

Students voiced their opinions to the board before the vote began, and for some, like Margarita Rosario, a School or Arts and Sciences junior, tuition cost increases have taken a personal toll on their attendance with the University.

She told the board how she had to temporarily drop out of the state university when tuition was raised, because her and her mother could not afford the cost.

“I think that is an immoral thing to do -- to kick students out of [the] university because they are not wealthy enough to attend," said Rosario.

According to the article on NJ.com, after the board voted and passed the tuition increase, students marched outside the meeting to voice their disapproval and state their fight is not over.

David Bedford, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, stirred the crowd of students gathered outside the meeting with a megaphone, according to NJ.com.

“Although we did not get what we asked for, today is just the beginning," Bedford said.

Along with raising the cost of tuition, the statement from the University also said the board allocated an additional $3 million in funds for student financial aid, bringing the Rutgers Assistance Grant budget to $30.5 million.

“RAG awards are used to supplement state and federal financial aid offerings,” the statement said. “About 70 percent of Rutgers undergraduates received need-based or merit-based assistance last year – including grants, scholarships and subsidized loans – from state, federal, university and other sources.”

By Shawn Smith

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