This is a copy of the letter addressed to the N.J. Speaker of the General Assembly and the Senate president. It was signed by close to 200 students from both Rider campuses on University Day April 8. To sign the letter, contact Campus Life by April 21.
As someone who understands the educational and economic value of independent higher education in New Jersey, I want to bring your attention to the significant return on investment that the independent colleges and universities of New Jersey deliver to our State. According to an independent report, the 14 member institutions of AICUNJ (Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey) employ 17,500 individuals, add $4.9 billion to the State economy each year and have been identified as a key sector to lead New Jersey’s economic recovery.
The proposed budget cuts for 2011 will hurt rather than help New Jersey’s economy. Capping Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) awards at the State college award levels for first-time recipients at independent institutions (87 percent of which qualify for financial assistance) and cutting the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) by 8.7 percent will force many students to abandon a great education by either dropping out of college, transferring to state-funded colleges, or leaving the state altogether to attend college — each of which would cost New Jersey far more than the proposed cuts.
I ask you to preserve TAG, EOF and direct aid to independent colleges and universities in New Jersey. This support ensures that our students become leaders in their profession and productive citizens who are instrumental to building New Jersey’s competitive future.