Tuition increase greatest since 2008

By Katie Zeck

It’s that time of year again, when students are wrapping up classes, packing to move out of residence halls, and getting in one last impromptu barbeque. It’s also time to announce next year’s tuition.
The announcement, made on April 30, let students and their families know that tuition will increase by 5.3% and the room and board will increase by 4.5%.

Dean of Students Anthony Campbell and Vice President for Enrollment Management Jamie O’Hara announced to both campuses’ student Senates that the increase will raise tuition from $32,820 to $34,560 for the 2013-14 school year. The room and board rate is increasing from $6,170 to $6,445 per semester.

Housing and meal plan amounts may vary slightly for individual students.
Last year, the tuition increased 4.7% from $31,330 to $32,820.

A formal letter from President Mordechai Rozanski explaining the increase was mailed to students’ homes on April 30. In the letter, Rozanski said that, to assist students with the rise in tuition, the amount of scholarships and financial aid will increase by more than 7%, or $3.6 million — bringing Rider’s total financial aid to more than $54 million, which is above and beyond state and federal aid available.

“The university realizes that the current economy is impacting our students and their families,” the letter reads. “As a result, we will increase scholarships and need-based financial aid next year. To help fund this increase, the university has also worked hard to effect savings in its administrative and non-academic departments.”

O’Hara provided information on why the percent increase is greater than last year.
“We continue to feel the lingering effects of the $2.5 million cut in state-operating support that Rider had received, affecting our ability to continue the investments and to fund the expenditures that will advance our institution and provide students quality experiences,” he said. “Therefore, in determining the new tuition rates, we sought to balance the need to continue to invest in the quality of students’ educational experiences with the need to maintain affordability. Rider needs the resources to develop new academic programs, and respond to our students’ needs for support programs and enhanced facilities.”

O’Hara said many of these new campus projects and improvements will be possible because of the tuition increase.

“We will increase tutoring support services in the Student Success Center,” he said. “We will also enhance technology by transitioning from Blackboard to Canvas, a new learning management system. We plan to continue to improve the wireless network by enhancing bandwidth to accommodate the growing number of mobile devices and improve download speed and support.”
Some of the new academic programs include an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater, an online program that will allow registered nurses to complete the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and an online master’s degree in accounting (MAcc).

Compared to other schools across the country, it seems that Rider’s tuition increase falls in the middle. Students at West Michigan private colleges and universities will see tuition grow somewhere between 3.3% and 6.8%.

In Georgia, a 7% tuition increase for next fall was recently approved at Georgia Tech and tuition will be going up by 5% at the University of Georgia and 3.5% at Georgia State University and Georgia Regents University.

At Iona College, tuition will rise about 4%, according to The Journal News. Iona’s President Joseph Nyre said that the students were put above salaries to limit the 4% tuition increase for 2013-14, or about $30,670. The college also increased its financial aid from $38.6 million to $41 million.

Students have responded with mixed feelings to Rider’s tuition increase, but seem pleased the extra money will be well spent.

“It’s not great to hear that the percent increase for tuition is greater than last year, but it’s comforting to know that the university is balancing that with more financial aid,” junior secondary education major Marcella Scalise said.

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