Montclair State University President Jonathan Koppell announced Wednesday, April 13 that tuition and fees for students will increase 3-5% for the 2022-2023 academic year. The announcement was made at the college’s annual tuition hearing, which was held in University Hall’s Conference Center.
The decision came as the rate of inflation skyrocketed across the United States to 8.5% in March. In the same month, food prices increased 8.8% and gasoline prices soared 48% as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up the cost of crude oil. As these prices rose, the rate of tuition and fees was proposed to increase $199-$332 for resident students and $321-$535 for non-resident students next academic year.
Koppell said the tuition hike will 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’s total sources of revenue, which amounts to $261 million. This number increased by 127% since fiscal year 2006, while general operating state support rose by only 14%. Koppell explained the college has been underfunded for two decades compared to their New Jersey public research and four-year senior public equivalents. This included a recent $10 million cut in state funding.
“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 budget, so right now we are looking at a $10 million decrease.”
Koppell discussed other university statistics during the meeting, including resource expenditure, student-to-faculty ratios, enrollment rates and graduation rates.
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 following 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 explained 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 proposed 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 concerns to email@example.com.