Montclair State University President Jonathan Koppell announced Wednesday, April 13 that tuition and fees for students will increase 3-5% for the 2022-2023 academic year. The announcement was made during the college’s annual tuition fee hearing, held at the University Hall conference center.
The decision was taken as the inflation rate skyrockets in the United States to 8.5% in March. In the same month, food prices rose 8.8% and gasoline prices 48% as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up the cost of crude oil. As these prices increased, it was proposed to increase the tuition rate from $199 to $332 for resident students and from $321 to $535 for non-resident students next school year.
Koppell said the tuition hike will fund a pay rise for faculty and staff.
“There’s about a 3% wage increase for employees,” Koppell said. “Just note that this sounds like a lot – it is. [But] it is behind inflation. It’s not even on par with the current inflationary environment, but it’s important for us to do so.
Koppell pointed out that the college’s tuition is lower than most New Jersey universities.
“Our tuition is lower than all of our New Jersey peers except NJCU [New Jersey City University] and Kean University, which are slightly below ours,” Koppell said. “It’s because [of] the commitment that has been made by previous administrations of this university for many years to maintain affordability.
According to Koppell, tuition and fees account for 58% of Montclair State’s total revenue sources, which amount to $261 million. This number has increased by 127% since fiscal year 2006, while general support for the functioning of the state has only increased by 14%. Koppell explained that the college has been underfunded for two decades compared to its public research in New Jersey and its four-year senior public equivalents. This included a recent $10 million cut in state funding.
“Last year, President [Susan] Cole and some other university leaders negotiated an increase in the per-student stipend, which resulted in a $10 million increase in base appropriation for this university,” Koppell said. “It was expected to persist beyond a year, but it wasn’t included in the proposed budget, so right now we’re looking at a decrease of $10 million.”
Koppell discussed other university statistics during the meeting, including resource expenditures, student-faculty ratios, enrollment rates and graduation rates.
The Tuition Meeting, hosted annually by the University Board, allows students to share their thoughts on proposed tuition, housing, and fees for the following academic year. This year, James Olatunji, a young computer science student and member of the US military, expressed concern for marginalized student communities over rising tuition fees.
“[Montclair State] is a university for minorities: people from low-income households, different backgrounds, races, cultures and sexual orientations,” Olatunji said. “A tuition increase would decrease all of those factors that make Montclair State what it is today.”
Olatunji explained the impact of rising inflation rate on students.
“[The prices of] common things like bread, milk and eggs – let’s not even talk about gas prices – are going up,” Olatunji said. “We students cannot afford a 3-5% increase. People work two jobs to finance their studies.
Olatunji proposed increased state support to reduce tuition fees.
“We need more state funding to support minorities,” Olatunji said. “The state should give us back the $10 million cut that was taken from us to support us.”
Hannah Cox, a young journalism and digital media student, said she was discouraged by rising tuition fees.
“I think our school is doing great things to represent minority students, so it’s disappointing to hear that tuition is going up,” Cox said. “It’s not a huge difference, but we’re going to see it increase every year, and I wish it wasn’t.”
Students who were unable to attend the hearing can submit their tuition concerns to [email protected]