Following a vote to increase student tuition, President Susan Cole will be receiving another pay raise, resulting in a base income of $587,000.
The last Board of Trustees meeting resulted in a 3.5% pay raise approval for managerial administrators. The pay raise increased President Cole’s yearly salary from $455,000 to $471,000.
Additionally, the board agreed to provide President Cole with a $91,000 performance bonus, as well as a retention bonus of $25,000. President Cole’s salary was increased with 2.7% along with a $88,000 performance bonus last year.
President Cole also receives unpublished automobile and housing allowances, despite living cost-free on university property.
Following a $37,680 tax-free pension payment to her retirement account, President Cole will be given close to $630,000 for the 2019-2020 school year.
Less than one month ago, the board voted to increase student tuition by 2.2%.
Board members explained the increase in tuition and other costs by stating that because Montclair State University is one of the most underfunded state schools in New Jersey, and university enrollment has seen a recent spike, a tuition increase was inevitable.
Some Montclair State students believe the money going toward President Cole’s salary would be better spent elsewhere.
Eddy Casey, a junior business major had his own thoughts about what the money should be spent on.
“Dining services need to be improved, Sam’s Place is legitimately unsanitary,” Casey said. “If [President] Cole gets free transportation to campus everyday, I should be able to park wherever I want if I pay $315.”
Jordan Lewis, a junior information and technology major, thought the money could be allotted to dorms or the bookstore.
“Bohn Hall needs its kitchen replaced and air conditioning put in,” Lewis said. “Books for students can be made less expensive. My friend had to pay over $300 for one book and an access code for a class she is taking for one semester.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy proposed a 2020 budget of $1.65 billion to directly support higher education institutions in New Jersey, $14 million more than 2019. That new $14 million will be divided amongst New Jersey’s 13 public, four-year colleges and universities, and roughly $1 million will go towards each school.
The board’s vote for the 3.5% managerial salary increase raised the budget for salaries by over $7 million, despite only being given $1 million more than last year by the state.
The total expense budget for the 2019-2020 school year was set at $428.9 million. About 50% of that budget, over $214 million, goes to salary and wages of administrators, professors, faculty and other staff.
In an article from NJ Spotlight.com President Cole responded to Murphy’s new budget by stating, “While I’m grateful for the small amount of money that came that way, truly I am, and for the effort behind it, it’s not enough.”