It’s a very commonly accepted fact: college is expensive. I feel like I have written hundreds of blogs about this sensitive subject, but sadly, here I am writing yet another about an expensive commodity becoming even more so. According to NJ.com, all four-year colleges in New Jersey will be raising their tuition rates for the 2011-2012 school year.
Last spring, students at various colleges throughout the state held rallies and protests to call for a tuition freeze, but unfortunately, their efforts were to no avail and now, all of the schools in the state will be becoming even more expensive as they raise their rates by anywhere between one and 7.4 percent. This means that annual fees will range from $10,021 at New Jersey City University to more than $40,000 at private universities like Drew University.
Even though the schools have increased their tuition rates, they are trying to be mindful of the students’ wishes. Rutgers University, Princeton University, and William Paterson University all raised their tuition rates, but it was the lowest increases the schools have implemented in years.
“We’re mindful of what’s going on in terms of the state and the national economy,” said John Marton, VP of Student Development at William Paterson University. The school only increased their tuition by two percent, which is the lowest tuition increase the school has had in the past 30 years.
Students in New Jersey should be accustomed to spending a lot of their money on tuition every year. The state’s schools have continuously ranked among the most expensive in the nation. Many families were already struggling to pay the high tuition rates for their children to attend these schools, and so it made sense when Rutgers students protested and staged a sit-in at the school’s administration building last spring.
“There are students who were so passionate about the debt that they were taking on that they locked themselves in Old Queens [the administration building] for 38 hours to make a stand and tell the university that enough is enough,” said Kristen Clarke, the only student representative on the Rutgers Board of Governors. “We students can’t pay this anymore.”
So what are students to do now that rates have in fact increased? Many will have to take out more loans, work more hours, or even take some time off from their education in order to save funds. Others may choose to change schools or even forgo their educations for the time being. David Muha, a spokesman for Drew University, encourages families to continue paying for their children’s education:
“College is really an investment, not an expense, and it’s probably the best investment a parent can make in their child,” said Muha.
This is true, but at what point does this investment become impossible for many families to make? I guess we will just have to wait and see.