TRENTON – The Ramapo College Board of Trustees voted unanimously today to approve a student capital improvement fee of $164 per semester. This will result in an increase in tuition and fees of 6 percent. Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, issued the following statement on the Board’s action:
“While I understand Ramapo College officials believe a capital improvement fee on students is needed at this time to make building repairs and upgrade facilities, it is unfortunate they chose to ignore the 3 percent cap on tuition and fee increases embodied in the state budget we just adopted.
“The 3 percent cap was imposed as a way to control costs for students and their families at a time when they are trying to stretch every dollar. The budget includes language that makes receipt of federal stimulus funds by schools contingent upon staying within that cap. Ramapo has chosen not to do so. While they’ve cut their original proposal from a 12 percent increase to 6 percent, the increase is still twice what the language in the state budget allows.
“I am therefore asking State Treasurer David Rousseau to review Ramapo’s actions and take appropriate steps to rescind whatever federal stimulus dollars the school was to have gotten and reallocate the money among the other state colleges and universities.
“We have all had to tighten our belts to get through this economic downturn. One of the ways to do that was our imposition of a cap on tuition and fees for our college students. The budget clearly included a forfeiture of federal stimulus dollars by those schools that did not keep their increases within the cap. It is appropriate that we redirect that money from Ramapo to schools that have figured out how to stay within the cap.”