There will be no increase in tuition and fees at Richard Stockton College for the 2013-14 academic year.
The college trustees enthusiastically approved keeping tuition at the 2012-13 level at their meeting Wednesday. The cost for tuition and fees for a full-time in-state undergraduate student at Stockton will remain at $12,322. Rates also remain the same for out-of-state and graduate students.
Trustee Leo Schoffer introduced what was called a “historic resolution.”
“This is absolutely excellent news,” trustee Clarence Hoover said.
“I am so proud of the college,” trustee Raymond Ciccone said.
Stockton President Herman J. Saatkamp Jr. said it was the first time trustees had approved no annual increase in tuition and fees. Room and board costs, approved in May, will increase two percent.
Rowan University’s trustees last month also agreed not to raise tuition and fees for 2013-14. So far Stockton and Rowan are the only two state colleges to hold the line on tuition for the upcoming academic year. The cost at Rowan remains $12,380.
In May Saatkamp had speculated that the cost of state-negotiated salary increases alone would require a two percent increase in tuition. On Wednesday he said that a two percent increase in enrollment and higher student retention rates are generating enough additional revenue to help offset the costs. The college also expects energy cost savings and every department was asked to look for ways to save money.
“We are working with students to build a more responsible approach to higher education,” Saatkamp said.
He did warn that it was unlikely the college could repeat the zero increase next year.
Paul Shelly, spokesman for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities said the last time tuition was not increased at a state college was in the 1970s when the state Department of Higher Education set tuition rates. That department was disbanded when the state colleges were given autonomy in 1985. Shelly said back then the dollar amounts were much smaller, and tuition did not increase every year, but percentage increases could be higher.
For example, he said, in 1967-68 tuition more than doubled, from $150 to $350, when the state decided to require students to pay a larger portion of the cost. By 1975-76 tuition had risen to $704, but was kept at that level through 1978-79. Additional fees at the time were also limited to no more than 30 percent of the cost of tuition.
Once the colleges were given autonomy, tuition and fees were set by each college’s board of trustees. From 1990 through 2008, annual increases averaged between 5 and 10 percent according to data filed with the national IPEDS data collection system and posted on the N.J. Office of Higher Education website.
The biggest increases occurred when the state began reducing the amount of funding it provided to the colleges in the early 2000s. Tuition rose an average 10.4 percent at the state colleges in 2002-03 as a result of state aid cuts. The increases continued to average about 7.5 percent until the recession and over the last few years has averaged about 3 percent as college officials worked to keep costs affordable.
Shelly said he was not aware of any other state college that planned to freeze tuition.
So far Montclair has raised its tuition 2.5 percent, William Paterson and Ramapo approved two percent increases, and Kean University had a three percent increase. Information was not available for New Jersey City University. Rutgers’ Board of Governors will vote on its tuition and fees Thursday and The College of New Jersey web site says its tuition will be posted July 15.
In a statement on the tuition, Montclair officials said the 2.5 percent increase equates to a $100 per semester increase in tuition and represents the smallest percentage increase in at least 20 years. Tuition and fees for 2013-14 will be $11,318.
Montclair President Susan A. Cole, said the small increase reflects the university’s ongoing efforts to minimize tuition expenses and maintain accessibility to a college education for as many New Jersey students as possible.
“The university continues to rank as one of the most affordable of New Jersey’s state colleges and universities,” Cole said.
In other business Wednesday, Stockton approved the extension of Saatkamp’s contract through June 30, 2016. His current salary is $293,164.
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