In-state tuition at Rutgers among highest in country
In-state tuition for Rutgers students is among the highest in the country, according to USA Today, which rates the most expensive in-state college tuitions as those in the range of $13,190-$15,160.
Besides New Jersey, the other states in that range are New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania and Illinois, according to the article.Rutgers's Executive University Director of Financial Aid Jean McDonald-Rash said in an email that more than 77 percent of Rutgers students received some form of financial aid in the 2015-2016 school year, totaling more than $958 million.
“We understand how daunting the cost of financing a college education can be for many students and their families,” McDonald-Rash said. “That is why we are committed to providing eligible students with as many options as possible for financing their education. We continue to make affordability a top priority as the institution grows and expands on its reputation as a top-tier national research institution.”
Rutgers Financial Aid has offices in Newark, Camden, New Brunswick and Piscataway, McDonald-Rash said. These offices work to help students and their families identify scholarships, grants, loans, student employment and tuition payment plans for which they qualify.
According to the Rutgers financial aid website, in-state tuition for Rutgers students is $11,408 at all — Camden, Newark and New Brunswick. But when combined with campus fees and the cost of room and board, the price is much higher. An in-state student attending Rutgers—New Brunswick and living on campus pays approximately $26,632, while an in-state student who commutes or lives off campus pays $14,372.
Costs are comparable at all three campuses. In-state students living on campus pay costs totaling between $26,000 and $27,000.
Rutgers is more expensive for students who are not New Jersey residents, with total costs for an on-campus student ranging from $40,000 to $43,000, according to USA Today.
John Bingham, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and president of the College Democrats of New Jersey chapter at Rutgers, said New Jersey has cut aid to its schools.
“It's continued to do that, and it hasn't brought us back. Today our funding is not back to where it was in 2008. One of the main problems is that New Jersey just can't make its budget work ... The governor, in his budget for this year, wants to keep funding for aid to school at the same amount (it) was last year and the year before. So the overall funding for universities remains the same while costs are increasing," Bingham said.
Bingham said after the recession in 2008, all states cut education funding, and since then only Alaska and Wyoming have returned to their pre-recession levels of funding.
Universities and colleges raise money primarily in four ways, Bingham said. These include endowments, investments, tuition and state aid. So if one component of this equation is decreased, the others must be increased in order to fill the deficit.
Despite the high cost, many New Jersey students are motivated to stay in-state for college.
“There's a trend for community colleges because they prove to be cost effective,” Bingham said. “Programs like NJ STARS (New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship) keep students here. And then Rutgers, Ramapo, Seton Hall — you have wonderful universities that provide a world-class education.”
According to the Rutgers website, Rutgers—New Brunswick has been recognized by many press outlets as one of the top universities in the country and in the world.
USA Today ranks Rutgers—New Brunswick as the 24th best public college in the country, and the Saudi Arabia-based Center for World University Rankings rates Rutgers as 27th in the United States and 43rd in the world.
“Our education is world-class,” Bingham said. “Students, unfortunately, have to incur a cost to come here, but a lot come in because of programs like STARS. The governor wants to shift money away from education, and we have a legislature that has its hands tied because New Jersey has mishandled its economics for decades. So the first thing they have to do is get their budget in order. And then they have to invest in their state universities, community colleges and even those private ones.”
Maxwell Marcus is a School of Arts and Sciences senior. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.