A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Education Funding, and discussed where Rowan and other schools get their money from. I also discussed tuition, which has increased a great deal in the past few decades, mostly because of budget cuts from the state government. Most of the schools in the area, Rowan included, were forced to raise tuition to compensate for the lost money when the government cut back on funding. As time passed and more cuts came down from the government, tuition increases were, for the most part, completely unavoidable.
This coming year, however, that’s finally changed.
Rowan President Ali Houshmand announced recently that there will be no undergraduate tuition increases at Rowan for the 2013-2014 school year. There will still be minor increases in the tuition for graduate and medical school students. This is an improvement over the previous announcements made regarding tuition increases. Earlier this year, President Houshmand had promised not to raise tuition costs beyond the inflation rate of 2.1%, but now, there won’t even be an increase to cover inflation. Since inflation is an uncontrollable economic factor that we all have to deal with, colleges usually can’t do much to prevent increases based on inflation. After all, if inflation increases the costs the college itself pays for various services, that cost difference has to be made up somewhere. For example, the housing rates and meal plans will still be raised 2 percent next year, in order to match the increased costs caused by inflation.
Rowan’s pledge to freeze tuition rates for the upcoming year is a great help to any students struggling with the cost of paying for college. Most other colleges in the area and nationwide are likely to have increased tuition for the 2013-2014 school year. Last year, the average increase in tuition nationwide was over four percent. Most New Jersey colleges this year are expected to raise tuition by about two percent.
Students also have to consider the burden of student loans, which can be tough to manage because of high interest rates. According to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, there may be some changes in the near future as congress works on plans to change how student loans are handled. The article from earlier this month states that the new plan could lead to increases in the interest rate on student loans each year. Even if you borrow the money next year, the increased interests rates could affect you each year after that.
Since inflation, government budget cuts, and student loan interest rate increases are all hurting the affordability of college, Rowan’s decision to freeze their tuition rate is going to be a big help for a lot of students and their families. Preventing tuition from increasing wasn’t an easy matter. According to President Houshmand’s announcement, it required a great deal of work fighting for balanced budgets in each department, and careful management of all expenses. Even while striving for carefully balanced budgets, however, Rowan has continued to expand. The school has hired 60 new professors and added 11 new academic programs, including Rowan’s first PhD program. Expanding the curriculum and hiring new professors surely led to increased costs, but Rowan’s careful budgeting and planning has kept those increased costs from affecting the students. Rowan is also expanding to become the state’s second comprehensive public research university, an impressive accomplishment to achieve without having to increase tuition to cover the costs.
The high costs of college are an issue every student has to face. For many students, it’s likely that which school you go to will be based at least in part on what you can afford. The good news is that Rowan is one of the least expensive colleges in New Jersey, with tuition cheaper than the College of New Jersey, Rutgers, Strayer, DeVry, and many more. That says a lot for a school that is becoming a comprehensive research university, and includes a medical school, a master’s program, and a new PhD program.
You can view Rowan’s tuition rates and fees here. You should also check out Rowan’s financial aid page, which has information about grants, loans, scholarships, and work study programs to help cover your education costs.