Construction delays and Carte Blanche controversies aside, the College is a relatively reliable institution.
But, in recent years, even the noble efforts of College administrators have been unable to successfully prevent increased monetary demands from overloading the already-full plates of many students.
Now, with graduation fast approaching and the very real prospect of – at least temporary – joblessness looming over many, it seems appropriate to address the two most recent newsworthy obstacles facing those we graduates are leaving behind.
President Bush, in his infinite wisdom, has seen fit to propose a $500 increase – to be reached over a period of five years – to the federal Pell Grant budget.
Shockingly generous though it may seem, the other shoe drops in the form of a tightening of Pell Grant applicability standards (the exact nature of which has yet to be determined).
It turns out the country can’t actually afford to give students more money to help finance higher education, so the government is going to compensate by providing aid to fewer needy students.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Closer to home, and to the wallet of every College student, college textbook prices have increased … again.
According to New Jersey Public Research Groups, “the average undergraduate spends nearly $900 a year on books.”
That means that textbook prices increase at four times the rate of inflation.
And, while textbooks publishers claim that the 45 percent price increase for a new edition is worth it for the added comma on page 378 or that nifty, yet completely extraneous CD that now accompanies most texts, hopefully they are able to see why many students would willingly forego the extras if it meant not having to choose between a tuition payment and purchasing a required book.
So, while the financial aftershocks of McGreevey’s budget cuts may have been – finally – settling, those not sentenced to graduate to an uncertain future are left with a brand-spanking-new set of fiscal concerns to shepherd you through your remaining years with the College.