Education

Lower Tuition Under Murphy? Not So Fast, Rutgers Pres. Says

4be5ac48264d57899118_IMG_1246.JPG
Credits: Daniel J. Munoz
4be5ac48264d57899118_IMG_1246.JPG

Gov. Phil Murphy, following his inauguration last week, ​ticked off a list of lofty goals and​ progressive​ proposals for the state. 

Yet allies and opponents have shown skepticism, or at least questioned, his vision for New Jersey

Rutgers President Robert Barchi made himself no exception, during ​a start-of-the-semester kick-off address at the Rutgers University Senate on Friday afternoon.

Sign Up for E-News

The question had been brought before Barchi​,​ under the Murphy administration​:​ ​Will Rutgers be able to reverse the trend of tuition increases and lower the cost for students?

Not likely, Barchi suggested.

“A rock and a hard place doesn’t begin to describe the budget situation in the state,” Barchi told senators. “If our new governor were to follow through with 25 percent of the things he says he’s going to do, we will be bankrupt.”

Leading up to his election, Murphy campaigned on increasing state aid to universities, meaning more money coming from New Jersey to ​support Rutger​s University.​

For students, that could mean reducing tuition and student fees.

“I don’t know where this money is coming from, but we don’t have it in the state,” Barchi said.

Certainly, Rutgers officials will continue to “lobby hard” in Trenton for the biggest chunk of state aid they can get, Barchi said.

“I’ve really worked hard with the entire administration for the past, going on six years now, to try to maintain the affordability and accessibility of a Rutgers education,” Barchi told the senate.

Barchi has credited that tactic with helping him keep tuition increases under two percent. In July 2017, the Board of Governors voted to raise tuition 1.7 percent, as part of a $4.4 billion budget for the upcoming academic year.

But with the minimum wage increase to $11 an hour, the university has been put in a tighter spot financially, according to Barchi, given the university’s ​1 percent operating margin.

“It’s a fairly expensive thing to approach,” Barchi told the senate, adding that as a result, Rutgers took on a $4 million budget item to support the increases.

The $11 minimum wage applies to all on-campus and work study jobs for Rutgers students. It was announced mid-December and went into effect on Jan. 1, affecting up to 14,000 students.

“We are in a position where we have limited known revenue sources, and they’re all at risk, one way or the other,” Barchi said. “The biggest one we could expand would be tuition, which I committed not to do.”

Barchi said his goal would be to make sure the ​annual ​tuition increases don’t exceed the two percent self-imposed cap.

Students are still pushing for a $15 minimum wage on campus.

“While $11 is a great increase it is still a poverty level raise,” said Mariah Wood, a member of the Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops​ (RUSAS)​. “Workers deserve to pay their rent and feed themselves, instead of having their labor exploited by the university.”

In December, RUSAS protesters disrupted the board of trustees meeting; part of their “Fight4Fifteen” campaign to push for a campus-wide $15 minimum wage.

Murphy has campaigned on the $15 minimum wage and made it one of his main priorities.

But Barchi, at the senate meeting, suggested it might a year before the wage increase makes it past Murphy’s desk, and even then, the minimum wage would increase in installments over several years.

The campaign recently became one of the bargaining demand​s​ in the broader contract negotiations underway by several Rutgers faculty unions.

Representing 20,000 university employees, the unions are bargaining for the terms of the new contract, with the current ones set to expire in the summer 2018.

Editor Daniel J. Munoz, dmunoz@tapinto.nettwitter.com/DanielMunoz100

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Newark

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 11, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Mothers Mobilize in Newark to Protest Trump Family Separation Policy

June 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - A group of New Jersey mothers took time to come to Newark with the kind of loved ones recently taken from other mothers: their children.

"It's unconscionable that our government is stealing children from their parents and locking them up in cages," said Christina Liu, a Montclair mom holding her baby daughter, commenting on President Donald Trump's recent ...

Market Street Patrol Building May Be Named After Late Undersheriff

June 28, 2018

NEWARK, NJ — The death of Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan on June 20 was a "devastating loss" for the department and for the county’s sheriff, Armando Fontoura.

“He was like a son to me. He was always the first one on the scene. He was always there to help. It’s just devastating. There is not much more I can say," Fontoura said in a ...

Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Opens Camp DeWitt Conference Center and Activity Building

July 2, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. – If you don’t know by now, Girl Scouts is much more than cookies, crafts, and summer camp.

In fact, the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey say they should host your next professional business conference, special event, or any other big celebration in which you are looking to seriously impress.

Look no further than Camp DeWitt in Hillsborough, the site of ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_8fd7ffdcf0e8abaaca95_lincolnpark

Fri, July 27, 10:00 AM

Lincoln Park, Newark

Lincoln Park Music Festival Sustainable Health ...

Carousel_image_705db43167d2ae62207f_arjc_2018moviesunderthestars_tap1200x800

Thu, August 16, 5:00 PM

Branch Brook Park, Newark

Movies Under the Stars

Rutgers Prof to Climb Alps for Climate Change Study on Glaciers

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Lauren Neitzke Adamo has long enjoyed hiking along trails and through forests and over rock formations largely to see the natural surroundings.

“I’ve been a huge science nerd all my life,” said Adamo, who has a doctorate degree and is co-director of the Rutgers University Geology museum in New Brunswick.

Next month Adamo will head to the Swiss Alps ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

A Statewide Solution on Disposable Bags Aids the Fight Against Litter

June 29, 2018

The New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) just released the results of a year-long visual litter study that shows that nearly 10 percent of all litter on our roadways and highways is in the form of plastic and paper bags.

There is no doubt that these bags are of significant and ongoing environmental concern, creating an even more difficult job for our clean communities volunteers across ...