2.5 percent tuition, fee increase proposed for upcoming school year

Credit: Rebecca Panico

Credit: Rebecca Panico

By: Rebecca Panico | Published June 23, 2016

About 30 students and administrators attended a tuition hearing on campus today where a 2.5 percent — or a $289 — tuition and fee increase was proposed for the upcoming school year.

More: See the full proposal 

“That is Kean University’s reaction to a systematic process in the state of New Jersey,” said Vice President Philip Connelly, “where since 1987 the state of New Jersey has been systematically reducing its contribution and its aid to public universities in the state.”

The state, he said, has “been pushing the burden more and more onto the students.” Kean would still remain one of the most affordable, comprehensive universities in the state, he added.

Under the new proposal, a full-time, in-state student who commutes would pay $11,869 in tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 academic school year, up from $11,580 last year.

Such a student would pay $189 more in tuition, amounting to $7,754. Only one fee would increase: the capital improvement fee, which is used for debt and to fund renovation and construction projects costing $500,000 or more that are not funded by bonds. That fee would increase by $100, bringing the total cost for all fees to $4,115.

Fees were assessed after an analysis of costs and incoming revenue for the university, Connelly told The Tower after the hearing. The hearing is held over the summer so school officials can more accurately tell how much state aid they have coming in from the state budget, which becomes available June 30, he added.

This year’s proposed increase is less than last year’s, which went up by 3 percent, or $337.

Fees have recently been scrutinized by lawmakers and the State Comptroller’s Office, which audited Kean and two other public universities and called for more transparency when raising fees.

William Paterson University, which was also included in the audit, increased tuition and fees by 1.7 percent for the upcoming school year and now costs $12,573 annually.

Student leaders such as the newly elected Student Organization President Emily Cubilete, Alternate Student Trustee Nigel Donald and Graduate/Part-time Student Council President Lawrence Owens also attended.

More: Student Organization president weighs in on new late fees

Donald — one of two students who briefly spoke at the hearing — suggested that Kean should implement a survey system where former students are asked about their employment status after they graduate to track student outcomes.

The proposal will be voted on at the next Board of Trustees meeting on June 27 at 4 p.m. in Kean Hall.

Rebecca Panico may be reached at panicore@kean.edu. Follow The Tower on Twitter@KeanTower. Find The Tower on Facebook.

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