The Student Government Association’s College Advocates Supporting Higher Education (CA$H) Committee raises awareness about higher education issues that directly impact us all, especially those that affect our tuition. Every other week, we’ll discuss a different issue facing higher education.
This week, we will highlight ongoing debates regarding tuition increases in California, which are similar to the debates occurring in New Jersey, before discussing its relationship to our situation. The University of California school system has proposed an increase in tuition of five percent annually for five years. In order to avoid this hike, state funding must increase by $100 million next year. However, California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a bill to increase higher education funding by $50 million. Consequently, the state will not even halve the tuition increase. In response to this five percent hike, students have been protesting and demanding greater state funding by contacting their state legislators. They have also organized similar protests for students across campuses and institutions.
Now you may ask, “How does this situation affect us?” In New Jersey, inflation-adjusted state appropriations have decreased by over 25 percent since 2006, according to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU). This year, Ramapo did not raise tuition. However, with rising costs and lowering state appropriations, New Jersey state schools cannot continue to freeze tuition rates for students without drastically reducing services. According to NJASCU, the burden of funding for NJ state colleges has shifted from about 51 percent from tuition and 49 percent from state appropriations in 2006 to nearly 65 percent from tuition and 35 percent from state funding this year.
If we want to ensure that all of the services that develop us academically, professionally and socially remain at Ramapo College, without a tuition hike, we must voice our opinions to state legislators. Moreover, tell your friends at other New Jersey state schools about the importance of higher education funding, so they also reach out to their legislators. If you have questions about contacting your state legislators or want to learn more about pressing higher education issues, please attend CA$H Committee meetings on Tuesdays at 9:20 p.m. in SC 223.