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Rutgers Hikes College Cost 2.2 Percent

Yearly cost to attend: $24,000

Amid student protests, the Rutgers University Board of Governors voted Wednesday to increase tuition, fees and room and board costs for the 2013 school year by 2.2 percent.

The move will bring the total cost of a Rutgers University education for a full-time, in-state student living on campus and enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences up to $10,356 in tuition, $10,970 in room and board and $2,717 in mandatory student fees, according to the university.

University spokesman Greg Trevor said the School of Arts and Sciences enrolls the highest number of Rutgers students, and was used as the example. Costs may vary for students enrolled in other schools of study.

An in-state full-time student in the School of Business will see their tuition rise to $10,668 and Engineering students would see an increase in tuition from $11,222 to $11,502 according to Wednesday's resolution.

According to Board of Governors Chairman Ralph Izzo, the increase is under the rate of inflation for the second consecutive year.

"In the face of significant budgetary challenges, the staff and faculty of our university continue to identify new efficiencies in order to provide an affordable, high-quality education for New Jersey’s top high school graduates," Izzo said in a prepared statement on Wednesday.

John Connelly, president of The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA), the main student governance body on campus, said that while the organization acknowledges the increase to be below the national average, it still presents a problem for students.

"While we admit things could be worse, (it's) not an excuse to not try to make things better," Connelly said.

RUSA delegates were present at the meeting, and supported students who offered up their own tales of academic hardship while pursuing their Rutgers education, tales that Connolly called "soul-wrenching."

"I've seen friends have to drop out of Rutgers," he said.

The tuition increase comes as part of a $2.207 billion working budget for the University for the 2012-13 school year, which was also approved at Wednesday's meeting.

Rising costs, including salaries, and record numbers of student enrollment, are what's driving the tuition increase, according to the university. 

However, the increase is still among the lowest of public colleges in New Jersey, and is expected to compare "favorably" with the tuition rates increases of other major research universities in the U.S., according to the board.

“As was the case last year, we expect Rutgers to have the lowest tuition increase of any New Jersey senior public college or university this fall,” said board member Daniel Schulman, in a prepared statement on Wednesday.

"The Rutgers rate increase is also expected to compare favorably with those of other major research universities nationally, according to the university.

The board also approved a $2.4 million increase in university-supplied financial aid on Wednesday, bringing the total Rutgers Assistance Grant budget to $27.5 million, according to the university.

Last year, 61 percent of Rutgers undergrads received some form of financial aid, according to the university.

Connolly said that RUSA will continue to pressure the college administration to keep tuition low and work toward a tuition freeze.

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