For the most recent updates on campus initiatives, I encourage you to visit the speeches section of my webpage and review the State of the College address delivered earlier this month.
State Budget Announcement
As we expected, the Governor's proposed budget does not spare public higher education. Our direct appropriations have been cut by an additional 11 % although the effective cut is considerably greater because required salary increases are largely underfunded, some benefit costs will have to be absorbed by the College and other expense items, such as utilities, are increasing substantially. There was also once again no provision for capital funding for such projects as roof replacement.
The budget picture may not be clear until the end of June but the general themes are unlikely to change even as the legislators add their own views to the mix. There is no money in the coffers. We are therefore left to our own devices for raising additional revenue, which we are doing, and reducing expenditures, which we have done. Since 2003 we have been increasing faculty lines at the rate of 5 per year. This commitment will have to be curtailed or even eliminated and all non-faculty positions vacated through attrition will only be filled where it is essential to do so. Cuts in programs will be proposed.
We have already reduced expenditures by millions of dollars in the past two years while raising tuition by 8% and 4.9% respectively in those years. Last year's 4.9% increase was the lowest among all New Jersey's public colleges and Ramapo now charges $1,200 less per student in tuition than the College of New Jersey. This amounts to a relative revenue shortfall of almost $ 7 million.
The administration will not propose trying to make up that difference but we are modeling on the basis of a tuition increase because there is virtually no choice but to do so if we are to fulfill our mission.
I will be providing more information over the coming weeks. Thank you.
President Peter P. Mercer