Montclair State University plans 3-5% increase to tuition and fees
By MAJA KOPRIVICA
Montclair State University plans to raise tuition and fees 3 to 5% in the 2022-2023 academic year.
University President Jonathan G.S. Koppell announced the planned increase April 13 at the school's annual tuition hearing, held in University Hall’s Conference Center. Before the rates are finalized, the state Legislature must approve appropriations and financial aid support, and may also set tuition and fee increase guidelines. The proposal would then go to the school President's Leadership Council, and ultimately its Board of Trustees for approval.
The move comes as the rate of inflation skyrockets across the United States, with the Consumer Price Index reflecting an 8.5% increase over the year as of the end of March. Food prices increased 8.8% and gasoline prices soared 48% as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up the cost of crude oil.
The total cost of tuition and fees is proposed to increase between $199 and $332 for resident students (up from 2021-2022's $6,649, to as much as $6981) and between $321 and $535 for non-resident students (up from 2021-2022’s $10,709 to as much as $11,244).
Koppell said the tuition hike would fund a pay raise for faculty and staff.
“There’s roughly a 3% salary increase for employees,” Koppell said. “Just note, that sounds like a lot — it is. [But] that’s behind inflation. That’s not even keeping up with the current inflationary environment, but it’s important for us to do it.”
Koppell emphasized that the college’s tuition rates are less than those of most New Jersey universities.
“Our tuition is lower than all of our New Jersey peers with the exception of NJCU [New Jersey City University] and Kean University, which are slightly below ours,” Koppell said. “That’s because [of] the commitment that’s been made by the previous administrations of this university over many years to maintain affordability.”
According to Koppell, tuition and fees account for 58% of Montclair State University's $261 million in revenue. Tuition and fee revenue increased by 127% since fiscal year 2006, while general operating state support rose by only 14%. Koppell said the college has been underfunded for two decades compared to their New Jersey public research and four-year senior public equivalents.
“Last year, President [Susan] Cole and some other university leaders negotiated an increase in the per-student allocation, which resulted in a $10 million increase to the base appropriation of this university,” Koppell said. “It was expected that that would persist beyond the one year, but it was not included in the proposed [state] budget, so right now we are looking at a $10 million decrease.”
The tuition meeting, hosted annually by the university’s board of trustees, allows students to share their thoughts regarding proposed tuition, housing and fees for the coming academic school year. This year, James Olatunji, a junior computer science major and member of the United States Army, expressed his concerns for marginalized communities of students in relation to the tuition hike.
“[Montclair State] is a university for minorities — people of low-income households, different backgrounds, race, culture and sexual orientation,” Olatunji said. “A raise in tuition would diminish all of these factors that make Montclair State what it is today.”
Olatunji pointed to the impact of the rising rate of inflation on students.
“[The prices of] common things like bread, milk and eggs — let’s not even talk about gas prices — are increasing,” Olatunji said. “We students cannot afford a 3-5% increase. People are working two jobs to fund their education.”
Olatunji suggested a rise in state support to keep the cost of tuition down.
“We need more state funding to support minorities,” Olatunji said. “The state should give us back the $10 million cut that was taken away from us to support us.”
Hannah Cox, a junior journalism and digital media major, said she was discouraged by the tuition hike.
“I think our school’s doing great things to represent minority students, so it’s disappointing to hear that tuition is increasing,” Cox said. “It’s not a huge difference, but we’re going to see it increase every year, and I wish it didn’t.”
Students who were unable to attend the hearing may submit their tuition feedback to email@example.com.
This article was made available by the Montclarion, the student newspaper at Montclair State University. The original version appears here.