By Casey Gale
Students are beginning to make their plans for the fall semester, choosing which residence hall to live in and picking out the right courses for their schedules. Another announcement students will now have to take into consideration is the annual tuition increase, which will be 4.5%, lower than the 5.5% increase last year.
For the 2014-15 academic year, tuition will rise to $36,120 from the current $34,560, with standard room and board costing $6,665 per semester, which is slightly more than the current price of $6,445, according to a letter from President Mordechai Rozanski that was sent home to students and their families on March 26.
“As I’m sure you’re aware, over the past several years, the university has invested substantially in enhancing students’ academic and student life experiences — even during the economy’s downturn,” Rozanski said in the letter. “We are committed to continuing such investments in order to provide the highest quality educational experience possible.”
Some investments that have been made include the introduction of a sports administration co-major and a minor in homeland security policy next semester; the addition of air conditioning to rooms in Olson Hall and an indoor practice facility for baseball and softball; and the installation of the Tri-gen Plant, which will use natural gas to generate electricity, steam and chilled water and is expected to be fully functioning before fall.
Rider is not alone in increasing tuition significantly this year. Colleges and universities across the nation have already begun announcing tuition increases ranging from 2% to 10%, with most school tuition increase declarations expected in the coming months.
Rider’s announcement was released two months earlier than last year.
“We wanted students to be aware of the tuition increase as soon as possible so that they could begin to plan for next year,” said Jamie O’Hara, vice president for Enrollment Management.
O’Hara said that the university tried to control the tuition increase, in addition to the price of room and board and fees, to remain sensitive to students with financial struggles.
For such students, O’Hara said that there are resources readily available.
“We are prepared to work with any student who might be facing financial challenges,” he said. “Students should speak with their financial aid counselor who is prepared to assist them to stay enrolled at Rider.”
The financial aid budget has been increased by 7.2% this year as a means to accommodate more students.
“I’m really glad about the financial aid increase, because Rider is expensive,” said sophomore accounting major Alyssa Zulla.
According to some students, the increasing expense of Rider is frustrating.
“I personally do not see where the money is going,” said junior psychology major Heather Horvath. “I’ve been in classrooms where the heat doesn’t even work, and I pay a lot for my education.”
Still, the university has decreased operating budgets to appropriately adjust spending, said O’Hara.
“Moving forward, we will continue to look at ways to control institutional costs, while still enhancing the students’ academic and student life experience,” he said.
Additional reporting by Jen Maldonado