Tuition prices frustrate students, professors alike

By Anthony Ingham

With the start of the spring semester, a common concern among students is the ability to pay the cost of tuition and books, and whether or not it is equitable to do so.

The Pew Research Center published an article in October of 2018 called “More in U.S. see drug addiction, college affordability and sexism as ‘very big’ national problems”, where in a survey of U.S. adults, 63 percent said the affordability of college was an issue. 

This is up 11 percent from 2016, and is second only to drug addiction in the survey by 5 percent.

According to CollegeBoard article “Tuition and Fees and Room and Board over Time”, this is warranted, as it says that prices for public two year colleges, prices have risen $930 since 2008, and $2,670 for public four year colleges.

A recent piece in the NY Times titled “What Students Are Saying About: College Tuition, Homework Help and Loneliness” by The Learning Network discusses how some students from colleges, high schools, and even one from a middle school, feel about some of the bigger issues within college.

When asked if tuition was out of hand, there were a couple of different responses from four different sources. Two students from Danvers, MA, say that the cost is unbelievable, and that the ability to go to college should not be based on their family’s financial status. A student from Locust Grove High School said that someone would have to work minimum wage for 17 hours a day to be able to pay off their student debt, and a student from Oxford Middle School said that professors need to get paid, and community colleges are much cheaper, so the prices aren’t that bad for what they’re asking for.

According to the 2017-2018 County College of Morris budget report the college’s operation’s cost summed up to approximately $72 million dollars. The funding breaks down to about 31 million from tuition and fees, about $7 million from the state, about 11.8 from the county, about $5.2 million from out of county students, $235,000 from investment, $948,250 from other resources, and the remaining $16 million comes from student aid, grants, and contracts.

A non-scientific survey asked a pool of 20 CCM students three questions; Are colleges trying to profit off of you more than they should, is tuition worth the cost, and will you have any student debt after your time in college? When asked if they felt overcharged by colleges,  18 people said they did. James Thomson, a Creative Arts student, says that tuition is absurdly out of hand for those from low income families.

“If you’re working all that time trying to cover expenses, it leaves you without time to do any of the out of school work, so why bother,” he said.

Professor Clemente of the History Department said that colleges are an “edu-business” more than anything, and often lean a bit more towards the business end of things.

Out of the 20 surveyed, 13 agreed that college was worth the cost, and seven didn’t. Students such as Mckenna Greco, a high school student who is coming to CCM next semester, and Furkan Yildirim, a Business Administration major, show just how differently students can think about this topic.

“It depends on the major,” Greco said. “If you’re a Computer Science student, you probably have to go to college. If you’re a Creative Arts student, you probably don’t have to.” 

Yildirim said that if you put the work required for it, and you get education, it’s definitely worth it. 

Anthony Mojica, a Game Development student, said that books are ridiculously overpriced, and the fact that some teachers don’t use them is an even larger slap in the face.

While 13 said that they would be able to get through college as a whole without student loans or debt of any kind, seven still said that they would have to. 

Students and adults alike are willing to admit that colleges need money to function, and that they are willing to pay them to get their education. In order to alleviate this, students should look for alternative methods, such as rentals, e-textbooks, PDFs, or others, before buying their books. 

Student loan debt is one of the most common forms of debt in the United States, with 44 million Americans having a total debt of $1.48 trillion, according to Forbes article “Student Loan Debt Statistics In 2018: A $1.5 Trillion Crisis”. The state of New Jersey recently passed the Community College Opportunity Grant, according to their “Governor Murphy Announces New Jersey’s First Step Toward Free Community College” article. This just started its primary phase for tuition free college, and with this program, 13,000 students from 13 out of New Jersey’s 19 community colleges will receive funding to attend school tuition free starting in the Spring 2019 semester. 

Originally Published in the 1-30-2019 issue of the Youngtown Edition

Tuition up $3 starting with summer session

Third increase in as many years



Students will pay $3 more per credit for the 2018-19 school year. Photo by: Arianna Parks

By: Brett Friedensohn

Students at County College of Morris will pay three more dollars per credit starting with the summer semester thanks to a hike approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Starting in summer, tuition for Morris County residents will rise from $125 to $128 per credit, but the college fee will stay at $29, making the total cost per credit $157.

Students who live outside the county pay a differential fee of 100 percent of the in-county tuition; therefore, they will pay $285 per credit. Out-of-state students’ differential fee will be $238, making their total cost per credit $395.

Tuition hikes have been recently common at CCM because of flat funding from Morris County and the state of New Jersey, according to Vice President of Business and Finance Karen VanDerhoof, who said that the approximate $7 million granted by the state and $11 million granted by the county for the 2017-18 school year has covered around one third of the college’s costs, leaving the other two thirds to be paid by the students. For comparison, CCM received $13 million from the county and $9 million from the state for the 2007-08 school year.

In Jan. 2017, the board approved a total tuition hike of $4 per credit for in-state students and $6 for out-of-county students. In Jan. 2016, the board approved a $2 per credit tuition hike.

Budget and Compliance Director John Young recommended the price hike to the Board of Trustees who voted unanimously in favor of his proposal.

Young said during the meeting that most of the college’s costs are used for salary and benefits of personnel.

“The increase will allow the college to maintain and enhance the quality of education and breadth of programs currently offered to students,” Vanderhoof said over email. “The administration recommends the budget parameters to the Finance and Budget Committee of the Board of Trustees.  The committee can request revisions be made to the parameters and then gives the administration authorization to develop the budget. Each division receives an allocation and determines how to distribute the funds to their departments. Each department builds their budget based on their needs and priorities.  They must also indicate how they are supporting the college’s strategic plan. Completed budgets are returned to the director of budget and compliance for review and compilation. The budget is the submitted to the finance and budget committee. Once approved by the committee it is then presented to the full board for approval.”

When New Jersey began opening community colleges around the 1960s, the state intended for each college to be paid for in even thirds by its county, the state, and the students, according to the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges.

Young said after last year’s hike that the idea “never came to fruition” because of the flat funding.

After last year’s hike, President Dr. Anthony Iacono and Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Management Dr. Bette Simmons said that gradual increases over time rather than drastic, sudden increases are preferable for the students’ sake. Iacono said that in the event of a drastic increase of funding at the state and county levels, the college will probably decrease tuition.

During his gubernatorial campaign, current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy  promised in September that if elected, he will ensure that all state community colleges are free of tuition, according to New Jersey Advance Media. A Murphy spokesman said that this would cost $200 million at the most. VanDerhoof said that she does not know if such an idea is feasible.

“I know he’s very serious about it,” VanDerhoof said. “How he’s going to do it we haven’t seen, and whether or not it’s doable from the state budget side of the house is yet to be seen, so we’ll keep our eyes open on it and see how it would impact us and the students.”

VanDerhoof said that she does not know what impact such a move would make on enrollment.

“It depends on how it’s done,” VanDerhoof said. “A lot of states have what they call free tuition, but the free tuition is as a last resort, like New York, there’s income criteria. Students still have to file for financial aid, and then, if there’s an on-net gap, that becomes the free piece, so it all depends on how it’s regulated or legislated, and then, we can assess it.”

Last fall semester, New York community colleges began granting financial aid to students whose households earned less than $100 thousand, according to NJ Advance Media. However, Tennessee covers free community college for all adult residents.

Liberal arts major Austin Smith said that she did not know about the tuition hike and that CCM should have made the move more transparent and that a mass email would have helped.

“I think the whole point of coming to school here is to be saving money in order to fund later institutional things, so that’s why I come here, to save money,” Smith said. “And I pay my own tuition, so not knowing that that was even happening this summer, it’s kind of a little absurd because they should be as transparent as possible with money and with our futures because that can make or break someone who is going to go to college or if they want to stay in college, too.”

However, mechanical engineering technology major Joshua Heinerch said that the burden of paying for colleges should not fall on taxpayers who do not use the college directly.

“I think it’s better because now, the people who are actually going to be paying more of it instead of people who aren’t, like the state or the government, paying for it,” Heinerch said.

After last year’s hike, Iacono said that while he respects the county freeholders’ priorities, he believes that government-funded tuition results in a more educated workforce, which in turn, benefits the community in general.

“It’s a difference in philosophy: Do you see education as an expense, or do you see it as an investment?” Iacono said. “I see it as the best investment you could possibly make.”

Summer session sees hike in tuition

Sports Editor


Copy of DSCF7578

Effective the summer of 2016, students at the County College of Morris will be spending more per credit to attend class thanks to an increase approved by Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

The cost of a three-credit course for students residing in Morris County will rise $6 for the credits and an extra $2 for the course, totaling a rise of $8.

The hike is being attributed to cost of living increases.

The hike occurred because neither the state of New Jersey nor Morris County could afford to increase its support to the college, according to Karen VanDerhoof, CCM Vice President of Business and Finance.

“I would anticipate as prices go up, utility prices go up, cost of living goes up, salary, and wages go up a little bit; then we’ll have to do a modest tuition increase down the road as well,” VanDerhoof said. “We don’t see the state or the county in the near future increasing their support, so I think it’s probably going to be a trend that we try to keep the tuition and fee increases as modest as possible.”

While CCM has lost money because of a decline in student enrollment, it has not received enough funding from the state of New Jersey and Morris County to pay for all of its expenses for the 2016-17 school year. For this school year, the state, which funds the college based on total credit hour enrollment, and the county both granted the college the same amount of money as it did last year, contributing respectively $6.9 million and $11 million. It needed to gain approximately $4.2 million to pay for expenses, including faculty salaries, utilities, and technology costs, so CCM’s president’s cabinet fired 22 people to save approximately $1.9 million. To cover the rest of the money needed, the County College of Morris Board of Trustees decided on the tuition and fee change, according to VanDerhoof.

Annually, CCM’s Board of Trustees meets and tries to keep the college’s tuition and fees as low as they can, according to Joseph Ricca, the board’s chair.

“We’ve worked really, really hard the last several years – at least I can certainly speak for my time – to keep tuition and fees as low as possible,” Ricca said. “I think when you look at the county colleges across the state of New Jersey, you come to a quick realization that the County College of Morris is very, very competitive comparatively to the other institutions, but nonetheless, you try and keep the costs down.”

Ricca said that he did not want to sacrifice CCM’s programs to keep the costs of attendance down.

“We recognize the burden, but at the same time, we also know that students come to CCM because of the opportunity, because of the environment and the services that are offered,” Ricca said. “When everything goes away, that reduces the educational program, and it also reduces the capacity of the college to be able to support students.”

One CCM student had different views.

“To me, county college is supposed to be the less expensive option, and I think that might go away if this continues, if they continue to raise the prices,” said Rachel Baker, hospitality management major. “The quality might go down as well if they continue to get rid of professors and staff in order to keep the fill this gap … I would say if there are any unnecessary expenses, try to cut those. We don’t need to update technology every year, things like that.”

CCM’s Division of Student Development and Enrollment, which handles student concerns, has not heard any comments regarding the price hike, according to CCM’s Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Management Bette Simmons.

“A lot of times … students are not that forward thinking, so even though we’ve put the information out there now that the tuition is going up for the summer terms, you all are still thinking about the spring,” Simmons said. “Students in general don’t tend to do that level of investigation into their bill. They see a total number; they pay it, or they get financial aid to cover it. And they move on.”

One CCM student found the hike reasonable.

“For nursing, I think the lab they need a lot,” said Claudette Munyacinza, a nursing major. “I know I’m the one paying, but they need a lot of material for the department. But it makes sense that the tuition goes up.”

Another student at CCM found disappointment in the price hike.

“As a college student, most of us are not really financially stable at this point in life, so I think I disapprove of it,” said Abdul Sheik, a computer science major. “I don’t think the prices should be rising, and if they are gonna rise, I think things like wages and things like that should rise with the economy, not just the price of schooling.”

However, Shiek did not blame CCM for the change.

“I think they are bound by a lot of things: the federal government, a lot of guidelines and criteria and all that, they need to somehow meet the criteria of the status quo,” Shiek said. “The federal government plays a huge role in education in the whole country, so with the prices going up, I think the federal government definitely has a significant role in this.”

Beginning with the summer 2016 semester, the cost per credit to attend CCM will total $150 for in county residents.