A letter arrives and students begin to scream and cry in anguish. Their parents feel the impending weight on their wallets. Something terrible has happened for our students and our checkbooks: Rider’s tuition has increased yet again. But this isn’t worst thing that could happen.
The last thing I want to do is pay any extra to Rider, which is already one of the most expensive universities in the state. I can agree with the idea that, eventually, students won’t even be able to afford to come here.
But we are walking away from one of the hardest years for this university financially. Administrators say we’re facing a deficit. Academic programs were almost cut to save money. An entire dorm was empty for the entire school year, beds with no bodies paying to fill them.
It’s important to understand that the school’s enrollment is still low. To maintain all of the academic programs, budgets for clubs and activities, extravagant events, campus technology, quality of dorm life, sports and other beloved facets of this campus, we’re going to need to find the money. And funding all of that is going to take more than looking between the couch cushions.
It also sounds as though a push is being made to make this campus more attractive, both physically and socially. Rider will be repainting Moore Library and renovating Gee Hall. A plan has been announced to develop land on campus, making it available for businesses and for real apartment-style living for students.
I’ve lived on campus for three years, and students always say “renovate the dorms” and “make more things to do on campus.” But these projects cost money that the university is not getting from incoming students. The combination of the increased tuition and these proposals — the renovations and the campus “town” — could sate these major complaints and eventually bolster enrollment on this campus. We’re pressuring the university and they have to meet our needs somehow.
It’s also important to note that Rider is planning to dedicate another $5.5 million to scholarships, not other projects or piles of dirt. That money is going right back to students who need or earn it.
I think this increase, which is lower than that of years prior, carries a lot of potential to satisfy current students, while pulling in more possible students. With these victories, Rider may find itself in a stable financial state, and then, we can fight tuition increases with echoing voices. But at this moment, this isn’t a decision that ushers in strife. This is one that brings a lot of hope.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Samantha Sawh.
Printed in the 4/27/16 issue.