According to a recent College Board report, the nation's average tuition rate increase was over twice that of New Jersey's nine state colleges and universities. While the national average tuition and fee increase was 6.5% (in dollars about $400) at public colleges and universities, at New Jersey's nine state colleges and universities the average rate of increase for tuition and general education fees was 3% (in dollars about $300). The national average increase in private college tuition, 4.4% (or $1,096), reflects why it is so important to keep public college tuition affordable. Roughly 80% of all students attending college are in the public sector.
According to New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (ASCU), the 3% increase in New Jersey, the lowest in a decade, resulted from discussions among college and university leaders; strong legislative advocacy by the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Budget Chair; and important support from the governor to reverse a proposed funding cut through use of federal economic stimulus funding and institutionally managed cost reductions. The decision was part of the FY 2010 state budget agreement.
"It is remarkable that New Jersey was able to keep percentage and dollar increases well below the national average this year. We think it speaks to the state's commitment to college access and affordability, and the effectiveness of college/university governance and management," says Association CEO Darryl G. Greer.
Greer cited a poll sponsored and released by the Association earlier this month indicating that likely voters, by a wide margin, trust presidents and nonpartisan citizen trustee boards to manage new funds to improve higher education and protect opportunity.
Paul Shelly is Director of Communications and Marketing for the NJ Association of State Colleges and Universities. ASCU is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization created in 1985. Its members are: The College of New Jersey, Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Richard Stockton College, Rowan University, Thomas Edison State College and William Paterson University.