NJCU is widely recognized and praised for its commitment to provide the highest quality education at the most affordable cost. Our students leave with the least debt in the state and earn approximately 22% more than their peers 6 years after graduation. The University has gained national ranking for improving students’ economic futures. We honor our commitment to our students with tuition and fees that are among the lowest in the State combined with generous financial aid and scholarship support.
The decision of the University and Board of Trustees’ to implement a tuition increase for the upcoming year is consistent with our pledge to maintain access and affordability. Costs for providing a high quality education continue to rise. These costs must be met in order to give our students the wherewithal to thrive in an increasingly competitive world. Raising tuition, one of the factors contributing to the cost of a students’ education, is counter-balanced by greater availability of financial aid. This combination determines what a student pays.
The University’s 3.5% tuition increase on average amounts to a $440 increase per student per year. The two largest need-based grant programs for NJCU students are the federal Pell grant and the NJ Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG). The maximum Federal Pell Grant award will increase this upcoming year from $6195 to $6345, an additional $150. As in past years, students who are eligible for full Pell and full TAG will have all of their full time in-state tuition covered by these two sources. These students represent about 30% of our undergraduate student population. An additional 30% will have some of their costs covered by these two grant programs.
Those students who are not eligible for full Pell and full TAG support but get some support from both will be supported by other scholarship opportunities. For example, students who meet household income requirements are eligible for the NJCU Debt-Free Promise Program, which means that the University will cover the remaining cost of tuition so that these students leave with a high-quality education, and without the burden of debt as they begin their careers.
The University is also awarding more scholarship money to students than ever before. NJCU made the decision to support students with the $4 million institutional portion of the CARES funding through additional scholarships, housing aid, and technology. This year, we will provide approximately $11 million in scholarships thanks in part to the generosity of NJCU alumni and friends. This is an increase of more than $2 million in institutional funds over the last year. The University remains committed to this increased level of funding to ensure that students can graduate with the lowest debt in the state and with a very marketable degree.
Additionally, over 2,200 eligible students received direct monies from the $4.2 million student portion of the CARES Act to assist them with costs from this spring.
The additional $3 million that will be realized due to the tuition increase will be funded by the increased Pell monies from the federal government and the institutional CARES Act monies, also from the federal government.
In these very difficult times when so many families are struggling with reduced income, it is more important than ever to keep the cost of higher education as low as possible – especially for those most in need. We are doing that at NJCU with a modest tuition increase counter-balanced with increased financial aid and scholarship support.