July 23, 2019 | 73° F

Rutgers tuition hikes are among the lowest in the country, according to a new ranking


The University’s place on the list of schools with the most consistent tuition over the last decade may be due to its already high tuition rates. At the time of the study, the University was ranked fourth among flagship schools with highest tuition rates.

Last weekend, The Chronicle of Higher Education placed Rutgers University on a list of the flagship universities that were most successful in keeping their tuition rates steady over the last decade.

But with its in-state tuition rising from $10,686 to $14,638 since 2007, the University’s position on the low end of the spectrum may correlate more to its high starting point than its low ending point. Rutgers was already the fourth most expensive flagship school when the Chronicle first started collecting data. 

Still, from year to year, the Rutgers Board of Governors has passed tuition hikes that are well below the national average. At 1.85 percent, this year’s jump was the lowest in 3 years, according to a University spokesperson.

“The university is mindful of cost and value for all students and has worked diligently to limit tuition and fee increases, while improving the student experience and providing new opportunities to learn, grow and succeed,” said Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Debasish Dutta. “A Rutgers education remains a strong investment for our students, who graduate prepared to lead successful lives and careers that benefit the public good in New Jersey and beyond.”

Annual in-state tuition and fees for attending public national universities have inflated by 237 percent over the last 20 years.

According to the University’s numbers, appropriations from the State of New Jersey currently constitute just 24 percent of the school’s $4.4 billion operating budget. This is something that newly elected governor Phil Murphy pledged to fix during his campaign.

As these appropriations continue to drop off, the school is faced with increasingly difficult economic choices, the most prominent being whether to pull the deficit directly from tuition and student fees. Last month, University President Robert L. Barchi said administrators have consistently elected to operate on a narrower budget instead of placing more financial pressure on students.  

“You can never be exact, but we plan our budget so the operating margin is low. Much lower than a company of our size would ever have. And we do that intentionally so we can keep the tuition low,” Barchi said. “We could have a bigger operating margin very easily just by raising tuition by 3 percent instead of 1.7 percent, but our stated policy has been the opposite.”

Kira Herzog

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