It’s no secret that college students are struggling to afford a college education. Tuition, room and board, student fees, and loan payments are just a few of the financial obligations that students have to worry about. Many students may not know this yet, but it was recently announced that Lawrence Township, in which Rider is located, is toying with a plan to make money that would involve taxing students at Lawrence colleges, universities and boarding schools.
What has not been made clear about this tax is whom exactly it would affect. Full-time students would be taxed $100, and part-time students would be taxed $50. This doesn’t seem too bad. But if you read closely, this means that even commuters will have to pay a tax. Reason being: Part-time students are students with less than 12 credits, and those with less than 12 credits cannot live on campus. So commuters who live in Lawrence and already pay taxes, directly or indirectly, will have to pay twice. Most students receive some sort of loan in order to attend Rider, so they are not immediately paying for their education while they are here. Adding extra money to an already substantial amount in loans may not seem like such a big deal. But some of us will struggle to afford the loan payments as they are. Why would it be a good idea to add more, especially when we aren’t even full-time residents of Lawrence Township?
It’s being argued that since we do live in this township, we should pay taxes like other residents, or at least fees for services. But we do more for the area than many regular residents. Rider offers the rest of the community art exhibits, musicals, sports, lectures and countless other programs that can be attended for a low price. Rider students spend their money at the mall, keep a slew of pizza stores in business, and donate a lot of time to volunteer activities and community service. Every Fourth of July, Rider hosts a fireworks event on campus for all locals to enjoy.
As of now, this tax idea has been tabled. President Mordechai Rozanski was able to persuade the Lawrence Township Council to put the idea off to the side and possibly search other options. President Rozanski realizes that giving us an extra thing to worry about will cause more harm than good because of how inflexible our personal budgets are. Hopefully, this tax idea will just turn into a passing thought, and students will have one less financial burden.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.