BRANCHBURG, NJ - Faced with declining enrollment and the prospect of a reduction in state aid, Raritan Valley Community College’s (RVCC) Board of Trustees has passed a budget for FY 2020 that increases tuition while reducing operating expenses by over $1 million.
The $54.5 million budget for FY 2020 includes a $9 per credit tuition increase for residents of Somerset and Hunterdon counties. The new tuition of $162 per credit will take effect for the Fall 2019 semester. For the average full-time student taking 30 credits during the academic year, tuition would increase by $270. For the average part-time student taking 12 credits during the academic year, tuition would increase by $108. Out-of-county residents will pay $212 per credit hour.
RVCC Online Courses & NJ Virtual Community College Courses will also cost $212 per credit hour; NJ National Guard and Reserves members are eligible for free tuition up to 16 credit hours per term; fees apply. Volunteer emergency medical personnel and firefighters are also eligible for free tuition for up to $600 per year and $2,400 per family of volunteer; fees apply.
Hunterdon/Somerset Senior Citizens, minimum age 65, can enroll in one course per semester on a space available basis; Tuition is free. A registration fee of $33 applies.
Tuition is also free for family members of September 11 Victims. Fees apply.
“In recent years, RVCC has had to confront two persistent challenges: declining enrollment and stagnant public funding. The new budget reflects the College’s response, which includes adopting a new strategic plan and developing a multi-layered operational plan," said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.
"The strategic plan establishes a framework to face the challenges and opportunities confronting RVCC and the higher education landscape. The comprehensive operational plan sets in motion significant cuts in operational expenses; freezes open or unfilled positions; reorganizes administrative functions to better serve students; supports investments in new and innovative programs; recognizes the need for tuition increases; and, finally, identifies the need for the elimination of seven full-time administrative and support positions,” he added.
“We recognize that these are difficult times for higher education and for the entire RVCC community. This budget reflects the fact that we always put students first, and we make every effort to minimize the financial burden on students. The reductions in the operating budget are essential to the immediate and long-term fiscal health of the College, and we identified savings that could be achieved without impacting classroom instruction,” McDonough continued.
In addition to reducing administrative and support positions, the budget includes a number of cost-saving measures totaling $400,000, including reducing the cost of supplies; utilizing alternative technologies; implementing energy efficiencies; and cutting the number of Theatre productions.
The operating budget reflects a 1.5% decrease over last year. It is anticipated that funding for the operating budget would come from the following sources:
Tuition and fees 61.0%
State of New Jersey 11.3%
Somerset and Hunterdon Counties 23.8%
Other (investments, rentals, etc.) 3.9%
The Board also approved a $3.5 million major capital budget and a $750,000 minor capital budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Some of the major components of the capital budget include:
- $2.2 million for renovating and expanding the Arts Building, the oldest building on campus
- $600,000 for a new Enrollment Center to centralize and integrate student services
- $200,000 for roadway repairs
- $120,000 for classroom renovations
The operating and capital budgets now go to the Board of School Estimate for approval. The Board of School Estimate includes two freeholders from Somerset County, two freeholders from Hunterdon County, and two members of the RVCC Board of Trustees.