As part of the efforts to close a projected multi-billion dollar gap in the states’ budget for the Fiscal years (FY) ’03 and ’04, significant cuts in state funding of N.J. higher education institutions have been proposed for the upcoming year, beginning July 1, according to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities Web site.
These budget cuts will impact the state colleges or universities in their ability to remain available to many constituencies and especially those students who plan to attend these colleges or universities.
Demands for a full-time residential experience at colleges in New Jersey have increased more than ever before. Because of these increases, state colleges have lost billions of dollars each year.
Estimated in 1992, with the money put in revenue for tution, room and board, and other misellaneous expenses, New Jersey has lost over $1.5 billion.
FY 2004 state budgets proposes a 12 percent cut to state colleges.
By next semester, the additional loss will be up about $12 million.
By 2004, the new budget will be approximately $35 million less than in 2003.
Over the next two years, basic state support for the nine state colleges could be reduced up to $102.6 million.
No state funding is recommended for FY 2003 Cost Of Living (COL) as well as for deferred maintanence, renovation, preservation and rehabilitation projects or construction projects.
“We are limiting many fiscal maintenance projects,” Gitenstein Gitenstein, President of the college said. The reason why project buildings will not be limited is because those buildings are not funded by state funds, but rather by bonds. If the money from the bonds is not being used to finance the buildings, the school will lose that money.
Other actions taken at TCNJ will include consolidating administration and staff positions, while increasing the number of faculty positions. Also, there will be a limiting of money for travel and other personal expenses and a hold will be put on the implementation of the new student information system.
Colleges and universitities will be expected to provide the extra funds to cover tuition increases for the neediest students through a program called the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG). This program requires all coleges in the state to provide additional funding or institutional grants to those students involved between 2002 and 2003.
However, according to Barbara Gitenstein, the president of the college, while there is a slight increase in student aid, many parents and students will end up paying a lot more money.
“Because tuitions and fees have increased, the out of the pocket costs for parents and students have grown tremendously. Because of the gap between what state provides in these financial programs and the actual costs at schools,” Gitenstein said.
For FY year 2003, the cost of this program is an estimated $1.6 million for all colleges or universities.
In Montclair University, for FY 2003 their appropriations budget is calculated as $5,966,000 and by FY 2004 it will decrease by almost $8,000 or 12.08% to equal $5, 237,000. Numbers for Kean start at $40,187,000 in 2003 and will be cut 11.99 percent to $34, 246,000 by fall of next year. New Jersey City University is calculated to be cut almost $4 million by 2004 from $32, 421,000.
According to Barbara Gitenstien, President of the college, while these numbers include a substantial increase in fringe benefits, these are increases that institutions did not negotiate and they are funds that cannot be used for operations.
“The increase goes direclty to the employee,” Gitenstein said.
All colleges including The College of New Jersey will be experiencing an 11 to 12 percent decrease in budget for the upcoming years. TCNJ will lose $4, 532,000 in FY 2004, an 11.95% decrease from 2003. Also, additional funds for scholarships will be reduced. For instance, Funding for Higher Education Endowment Fund is expected to be eliminated along with scholarships for the Outstanding Scholars Recruitment Program, in order to save $3.5 million in the state.
Effects of State Budget Reductions
Direct State Services
FY 2004 state budget proposes a 12% ($34.6 million) cut to state colleges and universities.
FY 2003 Appropriations
FY 2004 Recommendation
New Jersey City University
William Paterson University
Montclair State University
The College of New Jersey
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
State College/University Total