Another day, another dollar. Except at Rider, the saying should be another year, another $2,000. It is going to take that much more of the crisp green stuff to attend Rider for the 2008-2009 academic year. Brace yourselves against a sturdy object for this news: Tuition for next year is set to increase by 5.8 percent. In other words, the total cost to attend — which includes tuition, room and board, and other fees — will be a whopping $38,010 compared to the $36,010 for 2007-2008. (That makes the total increase 5.5 percent). But before you jump out of your seat and lead a march on the campus mall, let’s consider where the extra money the University receives would go.
While it costs more than a pretty penny to account for various salaries, most of us would agree it’s a worthy investment to make sure the people who make our college experience worthwhile receive fair compensation. But, is there such a thing as going overboard? Sixty percent of the revenue received from tuition goes to pay for salaries and benefits. Forgive the students who have been around a while and have witnessed tuition increases every year for being disgruntled at the thought of having to fork over more money, take out another loan, or pick up an extra shift at work to cover the additional costs.
In any case, the administration has the rest of our money spent already. It plans to use the additional funds created by the tuition hike to fund renovations that will make certain areas of the Lawrenceville campus more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. On tap are a much-needed overhaul of Gee and Wright residence halls, the enclosing of Daly’s patio, the construction of the new residence hall scheduled to open in May 2009 and the creation of two new academic programs. One has to admit these are all good, long-overdue improvements. A trip to Daly’s for a bite to eat at 12:30 on any Monday, Wednesday or Friday will remind you of the need for more seating. Enclosing the outside seating area adjacent to Daly’s will give us 200 more seats to enjoy lunch with our friends and playing space for Bronc Bingo.
The recent pandemonium over living on campus for the upcoming year, which saw the University’s initial decision to not guarantee housing reversed, was a stern reminder of how desperately needed the new residence hall is. Need we mention the students who next year will be living in triples that are not big enough for two people, let alone three? Some are likely to balk at the $22 million price tag of the residence hall, but they are forgetting the project will more than pay for itself in the long run.
Even though Jennifer Lopez likes to sing Love Don’t Cost a Thing, these new amenities are certainly going to cost more than a “thing,” and you can find the tab on your next tuition bill. But, Rider isn’t alone in hitting its students with a tuition hike. At public two-year colleges, tuition rose by an average 4.1 percent for 2007-2008, while private four-year institutions saw a 5.9 percent increase representing a difference of $1,400 when compared to 2006-2007, according to The College Board.
As lovely as the new improvements will be, Rider should not be funding them to such a large extent with our tuition dollars. A greater attempt needs to be made to get more of our alumni to give back to their alma mater. The launching of MyRider is a welcome attempt to reach out to this untapped potential. Since University Advancement has added two employees to its payroll, it’s high time they get to work and show us the money.
Written By Opinion Editor, Jamie Papapetros