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NJ Public University Funding

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 • 9:58am

I am writing to notify local residents about the rising tuition costs at various public colleges throughout the Garden State.  While these institutions have long been cherished for their research advances and relatively affordable educational opportunities, they are quickly becoming too expensive for many state residents. 

Those living in New Jersey recognize the high prices associated with its public colleges.  In fact, according to a recent poll, seventy percent of New Jersey residents view cost as the main obstacle faced by students pursuing higher education.  However, while residents seem to recognize that college is generally too expensive, they often do not realize just how quickly tuition costs are increasing at public colleges.

New Jersey’s flagship university, Rutgers, has been growing unaffordable at a startlingly fast rate.  For the 2013-14 school year, tuition and fees at Rutgers was held at $13,499.  However, when room and board costs are factored in, the price of attendance for in-state students living on campus rises to over twenty-five thousand dollars. 

These costs have unfortunately been rising dramatically in recent years.  During the 2001-2002 school year, for example, tuition and fees at Rutgers was held at just $6654.  The university reached its current cost of attendance as result of steady price implemented annually.  These increases have certainly added up- the cost of attending New Jersey’s flagship university has over doubled since the 2001-02 school year.

Students at other state colleges in New Jersey also are struggling to pay high tuition bills.  New Jersey Institute of Technology, for example, charged $15,140 for tuition and fees in the 2013-14 academic year.  These costs landed the institution on US News’ list of 10 Public Schools With the Highest In-State Tuition.  Tuition costs at The College of New Jersey and at Rowan University are also approaching the $15,000 for in-state students.

So why is the tuition at these schools increasing so consistently?  To put it simply, while New Jersey’s public colleges have been enrolling an increasing number of students, the state has not appropriately increased funding for these colleges.  This creates a major problem at institutions like Rutgers, which receives over forty percent of its funding from the government.

Students at the aforementioned colleges have certainly felt the impact of rising costs.  Last year alone, Rutgers increased its price of attendance by 3.3%, or almost six hundred dollars.  This decision was met by vehement protests on campus, with many students declaring that it would be a struggle to cover the increase in cost.

Despite these on campus movements, many New Jersey residents seem not to realize just how quickly the cost of attending public colleges is rising.  With the Rowan-UMDNJ-Rutgers merger and the Condoleezza Rice commencement cancellation taking center stage in educational news, the rising tuition costs at these schools have fallen out of the scope of many in the area.  Thus, the importance of spreading awareness about the fiscal situation of these universities is becoming more important than ever before.

Granted, New Jersey’s public colleges may seem like a bargain when compared to private institutions that can charge upwards of $40,000 for tuition.  Additionally, the Garden State obviously has financial limitations and can only allot its universities a finite amount of funding. 

Accordingly, I strongly encourage all readers of this piece to inform themselves on the issue of university funding.  Talk to some local college students.  Investigate the budgets of these institutions and, most importantly, take a stand.  The future of New Jersey largely depends on the success of these public colleges and its students; we must ensure that we are funding these institutions properly.

Ben Kelser

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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