Coughlin ‘disappointed’ in steep tuition hike at Rutgers — after budget increased higher ed appropriations

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin appeared to be taken aback by the 6% tuition increase at Rutgers University, announced days after the state passed its highest-ever budget ($54.5 billion), one that was loaded with assistance to higher education.

Tuition went up just 2.9% the year before.

“Given the record amount of state support for Rutgers, I am disappointed with the overall size of the tuition increase,” Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) said in a statement. “Keeping Rutgers affordable, and tuition hikes reasonable, is far more appropriate for the students and families of our great state.”

In making the announcement, Rutgers officials said numerous cost factors — including general inflation, a rise in salaries and benefit costs and increases in utilities — led to increases.

The school also raised the cost of housing (by 5%) and meals (by 7%).

Gov. Phil Murphy.

Gov. Phil Murphy, who said he did not want the recent rise in wages to be put on the backs of students, offered a general statement on education through a spokesperson.

The statement said the state was happy to give more money to schools but did not address the tuition increase — or whether the recently settled strike impacted it.

“To help New Jersey schools continue providing a high-quality education to their students, the governor and Legislature increased outcomes-based allocation funding for public institutions of higher education in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget,” he said. “This funding, along with other allocations schools may have also received in the budget, can be used to address a number of different operating costs.

“Alongside the administration’s own efforts, the governor encourages institutions of higher education to continue working to make higher education more affordable and accessible to New Jersey students.”