The Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees voted on Jan. 23 to approve its fiscal year 2019 budget, which includes a 2.2 percent tuition increase at the college for the 2018-19 school year.
Beginning on July 1, tuition will increase from $135 to $138-per-credit. General service fees, which are calculated as a percentage of tuition, will increase from $33.75 to $35.88-per-credit. For a full-time student taking 30 credits per year, the tuition and general fee changes would mean an annual increase of $153.30.
To reflect increased instructional costs, a $50 fee will also be added to courses in the sciences, paralegal studies, engineering, photography, theater, computer science and the visual arts.
“This budget is the result of months of hard work by college officials to balance increasing operational costs with the need to provide an affordable, high-quality education for local students,” said interim Brookdale President David Stout.
“Brookdale’s tuition rate remains the 10th lowest among New Jersey’s 19 community colleges, and we remain committed to providing additional savings to students through our university partnerships, new ‘textbook-free’ courses and annual financial aid and scholarship awards totaling more than $25 million.”
In approving the budget, trustees and officials outlined a variety of new college-wide initiatives designed to address rising operational costs and recent declines in enrollment.
Those efforts include new early-college high school programs, student retention initiatives and the college’s recent Title III grant award from the U.S. Department of Education, which will fund new curriculum options and expanded student services over the next three years.
Officials also announced a college-wide expansion of “textbook-free” courses, which allow students to download and print course materials rather than purchase expensive texts for each class.
The $84.3 million operating budget is down slightly from the previous fiscal year, reflecting a $6,300 reduction in total expenses. Key cost drivers include employee benefits costs and general college expenses such as insurance, which are projected to increase by more than $1.5 million in 2018-19. Benefits costs alone have increased by more than $1.5 million since the 2016-17 school year.