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.
In this issue, we will focus on the 2.3 percent increase in tuition at Ramapo College for the fiscal year 2016. The reason stems from Governor Chris Christie’s budget, which has cut direct state appropriation of New Jersey state colleges and universities. The base appropriation for Ramapo College has been cut $1,492,000 from the previous year. As a result, tuition increased to avoid cutting programs and services at the College.
The amount of Ramapo College’s operating budget supported by the State is approximately 27.3 percent for FY2016 and continues to trend downward. In terms of current year appropriations, Ramapo ranks next to last in gross funding, ahead of only Thomas Edison State College.
This funding issue is not specific to Ramapo College, as it affects all New Jersey state colleges. Since 2008, public funding for higher education has dropped an astonishing 22 percent, according to an analysis by New Jersey Policy Perspective. Meanwhile, tuition rates continue to rise. These factors have worked in tandem to increase the average student debt by 40.5 percent when adjusted for inflation. With declining state investment, the students’ share of educational costs has risen to about 65 percent for the current year, from about 30 percent in FY1990, according to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU).
What can students do to combat rising tuition rates? You can contact your political representative and make sure to vote in the upcoming elections on Nov. 3.
To this day, there are roughly 60 million U.S. citizens who are of voting age, but are not registered to vote. Our voices are not being heard, but through resources like TurboVote and apps like iCitizen, students can get informed and involved. For more information on these programs, stop by the Civic and Community Engagement Center. Also, please join in on these discussions at our weekly CA$H meeting on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. in SC 223.