By Briana Vannozzi
“Overall I’m liking Rutgers so far and it’s definitely a strong option for me,” said Derek Grothusen, a prospective student.
At least as far as student interest goes, it seems Rutgers’ association with the Big Ten is having a big return.
“We have about an 11 percent increase in first year applicants to Rutgers University this year,” said Phyllis Micketti, the director of applicant services for Rutgers University.
“I went to two big football schools myself. So, even though it isn’t the main thing, it just draws attention to people who don’t come from that state,” said John Grothusen, a father on a campus tour at Rutgers.
“A lot of people are attributing our increase to joining the Big Ten conference,” said Micketti.
New Brunswick, the largest campus, had a 10.66 percent increase. Applications to the Newark campus went up by 11.9 percent and Camden, the smallest campus, had the largest increase — just over 12.3 percent.
Overall nearly 4,000 more freshman applied this year compared to 2014.
“But one of things that also comes to the Big Ten Conference is we joined the CIC,” said Micketti.
CIC is the Committee on Institutional Cooperation — and it’s only for Big Ten schools. They get to collaborate, use resources meet with fellow presidents and chancellors.
“So there’s a lot of educational and research impact in joining the Big Ten as well as the traditional sports factor,” Micketti said.
Derek Grothusen added, “I’m a big college football fan so being able to see Rutgers play Ohio State, Michigan and all those big teams will be cool.”
When asked if that was a draw for him, he said, “Yeah but I mean I would have considered it even if they weren’t.”
Micketti of the undergraduate admissions office says the national recognition has drawn more out-of-state and international students. The school’s other reputations don’t hurt either.
Incoming engineering student Prateek Prasad said strong academics brought him to Rutgers.
“Tuition is huge for us. We have three kids. One graduated already and two getting ready to go to college, so tuition plays a big factor in where they’re going to go,” said mom Karen Gray.
Rutgers was recently placed on a national list along with NJIT and TCNJ for having one of the highest public tuition rates. Still not a deterrent for the prospective students and families we spoke with today.
“It’s $13,000 if you commute and $25,000 to $28,000 if you’re dorming,” said Prasad.
Compared to other state schools in the area.
“Average is about $30,000 even if you’re commuting so it’s not really in the same ballpark,” he said.
“But it’s still less than a lot of the private schools out of state and you get a good quality education at Rutgers so I’m pushing for it,” said Gray.
“A school of this quality is worth the money compared to a smaller private school so that’s how I look at it,” said Grothusen.
Admissions officers here say they expect the total numbers to be even higher because this data mainly reflects first-time students and transfer applications are still rolling in.