EDITORIAL: U. funding issues reflect broken system
Out-of-state tuition will not support diversity in education
As a result of the state’s steady decrease in the funding of higher education, Rutgers has been forced to figure out alternative ways to generate revenue to continue expansion and improvement.
One option for the University to generate this missing revenue would be to increase tuition for current students significantly, but thankfully the administration has opted not to do this. Instead, Rutgers will increase the number of out-of-state and international students admitted since these students pay more than double that of their in-state counterparts.
Accepting more students from places other than New Jersey will result in less in-state students being admitted to Rutgers. To combat New Brunswick’s densely packed population, the University is also decreasing the amount of new students accepted each year by 2 percent. Anyone who utilizes the University’s bus system and has experienced the city’s traffic can attest to the fact that this is necessary.
From the perspective of a New Jersey resident, the knee-jerk reaction is probably to argue that as the State University of New Jersey, Rutgers should cater to in-state students first. But the fact is that right now, Rutgers has the lowest number of out-of-state students in the Big Ten by far, and even with the 25 percent cap, the University will still be at the bottom of the list. Additionally, the extra revenue that is generated by accepting more out-of-state students will allow the University to award more aid to New Jersey students.
The aforementioned sounds wonderful at first glance, but it raises a few questions. The main point of accepting more out-of-state students is to generate more revenue, so it would defeat the purpose for the University to admit financially needy students that are not from New Jersey. In other words, it may be a majority of wealthy students from out-of-state that will be accepted. Now, one of the main arguments of this whole situation is that by accepting more out-of-state students, Rutgers will be increasing its already diverse student body, adding more perspectives and cultures from all over the country. But when one hears of the fact that only students who can pay their own way will be accepted, the diversity aspect of this deal becomes tainted. How can we be diversifying while only accepting people who can pay out-of-pocket? It seems as if doing this will create a socioeconomic divide within the student body — rich out-of-state students and maybe not-so-rich in-state kids.
In an ideal world, the University would be able to keep tuition costs down while at the same time continuing to diversify and generate revenue to fund its expansions. Maybe state funding for higher education would also be a priority in that world. Sadly, this is not the world we exist in. The administration is forced to take a realist approach to doing what is best for the greater good of Rutgers. To raise revenue, we need students who can pay out-of-state tuition — a lot of them.
This is not all bad, though. Socioeconomic backgrounds aside, students from all over the U.S., and the world for that matter, will be coming here to New Brunswick. No matter their family’s income, they will serve to broaden University perspectives. By making Rutgers more competitive for in-state students, they are in turn making the school more competitive as a whole. Current students, especially first-years and sophomores, will see the effects of this upon looking for a job when graduation comes around.
All in all, this entire situation simply represents a broken education system in both New Jersey and the United States. The system, like everything else, truly seems to revolve around money — not education. There are brilliant students all over the country who may want to come here to Rutgers for a variety of reasons but cannot due to costs. A student should never have to worry about whether their dream school, or any school for that matter, is judging them based on the income of their parents.
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