EDITORIAL: U. should continue to keep tuition down
Efforts to sustain growth, affordability show students are priority
Rutgers University was recently placed on ’s list of the flagship universities that succeeded in keeping their tuition at steady rates over the last 10 years, increasing from $10,686 in 2007 to $14,638 in 2017-2018. Year after year, the Rutgers Board of Governors has passed tuition hikes below the national average, this year’s being 1.85 percent, the lowest increase in the last three years.
Students are often quick to scrutinize the University for its seemingly excessive spending on "unnecessary" objects and events, allocating money in seemingly questionable places and raising tuition each year, but it is evident that the administration is actively making calculated moves to continue Rutgers’ growth and expansion while maintaining a reasonable cost of attendance. Growth and expansion and low cost of attendance are both things that mostly benefit students, and it is becoming evident that despite the University’s arguably questionable behavior in terms of going about keeping tuition low, the well-being of students is truly their main priority.
In an interview with The Daily Targum, President Robert L. Barchi said, “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. 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.” And they’re jumping through hoops to follow through with that statement. The University is increasing the number of out-of-state and international students being admitted so as to profit off of their higher tuition rates and in turn keep tuition down. In general, it seems like the University is devoted to helping its students financially no matter the circumstances. High-quality prospective students who notice that Rutgers’ administration has worked to keep tuition increases low could very well see this as an attractive attribute compared to other schools, potentially drawing better students to New Brunswick.
The state-funded portion of the operating budget has decreased to 24 percent, which makes it even harder for the University to keep tuition down and forces them to resort to these alternative tactics to sustain its necessary level of revenue. Governor-Elect Phil Murphy has to make college in New Jersey more affordable, which would presumably either involve lowering tuition as much as possible for as many students as possible, or allowing this to happen by allocating more money from the state to Rutgers’ operating budget. Murphy intends to raise taxes for New Jersey residents, though, which could essentially nullify the benefit of the tuition decrease because what people are not paying in tuition, they will be paying in taxes. With that said, this could result in somewhat of a bargain for attending college in-state. Since a person’s taxes in New Jersey will be high regardless of if they go to college, Murphy’s reign might be a good time to invest in an education at a lower cost.
It is easy to assume the worst about the administration after reading some headlines, but in the end, the University seems to be actively doing its best to benefit students and their experience in as many ways as possible. Part of the reason that many students choose Rutgers is because of its affordability, and the University taking action to ensure that affordability is always one of its assets is a sign that they are working hard for the students.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 149th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.