With signs saying “Stop Tuition Hikes,” “Tuition Today = Debt Tomorrow,” and “$1.2 Trillion in Student Debt,” the student newspaper Daily Targum reported that Rutgers students protested yesterday at the board’s open budget hearing. One student is quoted by the Record as saying, “We need a tuition freeze because so many of my friends are struggling. This is an issue of our generation.”
The governor’s proposed budget reduces the operating expenses of our senior public colleges and universities. In the case of Rutgers state-operated support is proposed to decrease for the coming year by $50 million dollars. Recent credit agency downgrades brought on by Gov. Christie’s mishandling of the budget and economy will likely also result in higher interest rates for university bonds.
Students pointed out examples of unnecessary spending such as the $1.2 million in severance pay to former basketball coach Mike Rice and former Athletic Director Tim Pernetti.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi told lawmakers at a hearing last week that the university had to shoulder $50 million in costs from the 2013 merger although he and Governor Christie had insisted that students would not bear that expense.
In the meantime not only do companies profit handsomely from student loans, but the federal government does so as well, particularly with graduate students.
Another student provided an important perspective: “There is this story we tell ourselves of (education) as a great equalizer … but as long as the tuition at public institutions, and Rutgers in particular, remains as high as it is, that is an utter fabrication.”