Tuition will not increase for Montclair State University students for the upcoming academic year, as was announced at the Board of Trustees meeting recently.
Tuition will remain the same for in-state students. However, out-of-state students who are in master’s programs will receive a 32% decrease in tuition as an encouragement to return to campus, despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Out-of-state undergraduate rates were frozen last year.
Additionally, each student will see a $1.80 reduction in mandatory fees.
Rich Wolfson, a professor at Montclair State and head of the faculty union, told the Board of Trustees that he was not impressed with the cost reduction for students.
“If they [students] choose to purchase a cup of coffee at Cafe Diem for instance when we’re back on campus, they’re gonna have to dig deeper in their pocket or electronic wallet, as we all know $1.80 won’t cover the cost of a cup of coffee,” Wolfson said.
The average tuition last year for in-state students was $13,073 for one full year while out-of-state students were charged $21,033.
Earlier this summer, Hailey Noecker, a junior family science and human development major, started a petition with the goal to receive a discount on Montclair State’s tuition for the fall semester. The petition currently has over 955 signatures.
In the petition, Noecker stated that all seven classes she’s registered for will be solely online which means she will be receiving no in-person learning. Many other students have also experienced this and believe that if they are not attending classes in person, they should not be paying the full amount of tuition.
“Being someone in the teacher education program, I truly and honestly believe that online education is in no way as beneficial as that in-person teaching we received,” Noecker said. “I haven’t heard anything from the school regarding the petition I started, and additionally I’m disappointed to say that I believe the university will just continue to ignore it along with their students since when my bill came out there were no changes.”
Jillian Padovan, a junior physical education major, signed and commented on Noecker’s petition with the belief that students should get a discount for the fall semester due to online learning.
“My thoughts on the tuition remaining the same for the fall semester is unfair because most classes will be taught online,” Padovan said. “Students aren’t going to have much of that classroom experience and face-to-face interactions with professors. Since students will be learning remotely, for the most part, we should get a discount for the fall semester.”
Joseph Brennan, vice president of communications and marketing, acknowledges that the university is fully aware of the petition, but has no plans to offer different tuition rates based on how the courses are delivered.
The reason behind this is that every course counts the same toward graduation regardless of how it is delivered. The university also does not save money by delivering a course online since faculty are paid the same whether a course is online or in-person. According to Brennan, the university has spent more this year for online delivery, incurring additional costs for technology and staff to support online learning.
“We would like [Montclarion] readers to know that Montclair State is working very hard to remain as affordable as possible,” Brennan said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed that over time, as the COVID-19 situation improves, we can make more face-to-face courses available.”
Prior to the Board of Trustees meeting on July 15, President Susan Cole announced that she has taken a substantial pay cut of 20% to help the university combat its economic strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The union for faculty and staff has also agreed to be furloughed for 12 days, and also to defer the annual cost of living increases by one year to help the university with its deficit.
Administrators are also taking their own cuts. The university will have 10% fewer administrator positions this fall, according to Dr. Francis Cuss, the chairman at the meeting, who added that many temporary positions have been eliminated and the university offered fewer contracts to contingent faculty.
While most of the plans are finalized, students should expect additional changes to be made in the coming weeks regarding the fall semester.