Cryan Continues Call for Rutgers Tuition Freeze as Board of Governors Prepares to Vote on Price Tag for Next Year

Assemblyman Joseph Cryan on Wednesday renewed his call for a tuition freeze at Rutgers University, urging the Board of Governors to keep costs stable when it convenes this afternoon to vote on tuition and fees for the upcoming school year at the State University of New Jersey.

Cryan joined with students in April in calling for a tuition freeze shortly after he and Assemblywoman Celeste Riley unveiled a comprehensive 20-bill package to help make college more affordable and attainable amidst ever-escalating costs.

“While notice of today’s meeting might make it seem like a dialogue to discuss tuition and fee rates on campus, it should more accurately be described as a meeting to determine how hefty of an increase next year’s class will have to endure. Unfortunately, Rutgers, like almost every other college in America, continues to raise their tuition, not lower it.

“Evidence shows that when state aid goes up, tuition does not necessarily go down, sending students teetering precariously closer to the edge of complete unaffordability. For this reason, lowering costs & increasing college completion rates, while maintaining or raising the amount of state aid, must remain a priority,” said Cryan (D-Union).

Cryan noted that last year the Rutgers board approved a 3.3 percent hike in tuition in mid-July, raising the average in-state, undergraduate cost for tuition and fees to $13,499. Once room and board were added, Rutgers students living on campus this year paid an average total of $25,077, or nearly $600 more than the previous year.

Equally important, Cryan noted, was that students enrolled for the fall semester then had less than two months to figure out how they were going to accommodate that increase.

“Over the last 10 years, we have seen graduation rates move from a four-year model to a six year model. College is expensive enough. When one adds an additional two years, it often becomes unattainable.

“Last year, Rutgers raised tuition and fees 3.3 percent, which equates to a 20 percent increase when factored in over six years. Meanwhile students are still taking the same number of classes and earning the same degree; it just costs 20 percent more,” added Cryan.

Chief among Cryan’s reform proposals is a bill (A-2807) that would freeze tuition and fees at the same rate for nine semesters following a student’s initial enrollment at a four-year public or independent institution, potentially saving some students upwards of $10,000 over the course of a six-year degree completion program.

“Under the tuition freeze proposal, the same price you pay at the start of college would be the same price you pay after four and a half years, no exceptions. Colleges can raise tuition and fees for each subsequent class, but individual students will have the security of knowing they can graduate at the same price that they started at and plan accordingly,” concluded Cryan.