Rutgers freezes tuition to offset student financial hardships, budget cuts and surplus will be used to cover revenue shortfalls

Rutgers University will not raise tuition and fees for undergraduate and graduate students for the coming school year. University President Robert Barchi announced the promise to not raise tuition in a letter to students and staff.

In the letter, Barchi described the COVID-19 crisis as perhaps the greatest academic and operational challenge in the school’s history. He also outlined steps the university is taking to cut costs and save money. The university is facing a $200 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year ending June 30 and more financial challenges for the coming academic year.

“Though much remains to be determined about the coming budget year, one thing is certain—we cannot and will not close this gap on the backs of our students and their families. While this is the correct action to take to protect our students and their families, I know that freezing tuition represents a significant further strain on our finances,” ” Barchi wrote.

“I know that many in our community are suffering great financial hardships, uncertain employment prospects, and disrupted personal and professional plans,” Barchi wrote. “Holding tuition and fees flat for undergraduates will help to ease part of this burden for our students, but more help is needed. We will continue to advocate aggressively at the federal and state levels for programs that would minimize the burden of this crisis on our employees and our students.”

Barchi said that compared to most of its peers across the country, Rutgers has been uniquely impacted by the pandemic. “We are located in the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, creating challenges around both the length of our expected recovery and our ability to attract new students,” he wrote. “Perhaps no other state government has been hit as hard financially as New Jersey, which has necessitated the freezing of many appropriations, including a significant portion of funding for Rutgers.”

To lessen the negative impact of COVID-19 on Rutgers University’s finances, the school will:

  • Cut the salaries of the president, chancellors, executive vice presidents, athletic director, and the head coaches for football and men’s and women’s basketball in New Brunswick by 10 percent for four months.
  • Cut the salaries of all vice presidents, provosts, vice-chancellors, and deans who comprise the administrative council, as well as the entire leadership team for athletics in New Brunswick, by 5 percent for four months.
  • Use reserve funds wherever possible to offset lost revenue. Barchi said under normal circumstances, the funds are used for major strategic initiatives, faculty recruitment and support, deferred maintenance on buildings, and unexpected expenses.
  • Halt all plans for new capital construction projects and review all active projects.
  • Suspend all discretionary spending related to university operations, including consultants, conference expenses, and other items.
  • Continue the ban on university-sponsored travel until further notice.
  • Continue the hiring freeze announced earlier in the month, until further notice. All new postings and job offers have been suspended indefinitely, with the exception of key health personnel and certain other exceptions.
  • Prohibit all non-contractual pay increases until further notice. The measure applies to all non-aligned personnel, including senior administrators who are having their pay temporarily reduced.
  • Explore all personnel options, including furloughs, reductions in force, and further wage freezes.

“The steps we are taking today will help us address the immediate impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, but they are only the beginning of what we must consider. Equally substantial steps will be needed as we craft a budget for the coming year,” Barchi wrote. “Rutgers has a 250-year legacy of resilience. I have no doubt that we will weather this storm and that Rutgers will emerge as an even stronger institution. However, during this continued crisis, we will face difficult immediate challenges and uncertain long-term issues that will require shared commitment, vision, and sacrifice.”

One Comment

  1. The headline and the article are not accurate. In his letter to the Rutgers community last Friday, the President did not say Rutgers would freeze tuition at current levels. He said “ we will recommend to the Board of Governors a 2021 budget that freezes undergraduate tuition and fees at their current levels”. Simply recommending a tuition freeze is not the same as freezing tuition. It has to be approved as part of the budget for the next fiscal year.

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