By Jen Maldonado
That time of year has come once again as University officials announced Rider’s tuition increase for the 2012-2013 academic year Tuesday to the Lawrenceville campus and Wednesday to the Westminster campus. However, there is good news as this year’s tuition rise of 4.7 percent and a 4.6 percent combined increase for the cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, room and board, are the lowest rates Rider has seen in more than ten years.
Dean of Students Anthony Campbell and Vice President for Enrollment Management Jamie O’Hara announced to both campuses’ student Senates that the increase would bring the cost of tuition to $32,820 from its current cost of $31,330. The price of room and board will also increase from $3,665 per semester for a standard double room to $3,885 per semester, and the cost of a standard meal plan will go up from $2,240 to $2,285 per semester. A formal letter from President Mordechai Rozanski explaining the increase was mailed to students’ homes Thursday.
“This percentage increase is lower than some of the increases we are hearing about from some of our peer private institutions in New Jersey,” O’Hara said.
Taking into consideration the current economy and its impact on students and their families, the financial aid budget is increasing 8 percent, up $3.7 million, bringing the total cost to $50 million to help out students.
“The increase to the financial aid budget is important because we continue to see students and families that are faced with changing financial circumstances,” O’Hara said. “In order to address these needs, we monitor requests and increase the aid budget as necessary.”
Other campus improvements will be made as a result of the tuition increase as well. Renovations to both campuses’ dining halls are being done this summer, with the addition of a Subway on the Lawrenceville campus along with a “refreshed look for Daly’s and Westminster’s Dining Hall” that will allow for more variety with the food provided to students, according to O’Hara.
The Westminster campus will be receiving a new parking lot that consists of 93 spaces and will “make a world of a difference,” according to Campbell, while the Lawrenceville campus will being offering a new master’s degree in Business Communications and an online program that will allow registered nurses to get their Bachelor of Nursing Science degree.
Both campuses will also welcome new faculty for the upcoming academic year, with Lawrenceville adding about 11 new faculty members and Westminster hiring four new members.
Students have responded with mixed feelings regarding the tuition increase, but seem pleased the extra money will be well spent.
“I’m glad the increase is going towards things that will benefit students,” sophomore Carlee Augliera said. “But it’s already very expensive to go here so potential students may see the price and second think if they want to come to Rider, even though the money is going to campus improvements.”
Sophomore Shauna Scarano agrees.
“Obviously no one is going to like a tuition increase, but if the increase is for specific reasons then it may be a bit more acceptable to people,” she said.