At a time when many of New Jersey’s college and universities are cutting program funding and cranking up tuition, at least one is on a spending spree with new buildings and facilities. New Jersey City University President Sue Henderson told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that school officials generated more revenue by going through their budget.
“So one of the ways we did initially was to look at our budget and find places where there could be more efficiencies,” said Henderson.
Henderson said that she had spent many years within the CUNY system in New York learning to be much more efficient. She said that she brought those skills to NJCU and that the school looked at some administrative areas and took away items that were inefficient in order to save money.
Some of the areas that were looked at, according to Henderson, were in IT and how the school was handling travel.
Tuition at NJCU is one of the lowest in the state, with tuition under $11,000 per year. In order to keep tuition low, Henderson said that the school has spent a little less on administration.
“We looked at areas where we can decrease our number of administrators,” Henderson said. “We had people leave over the last two, three years and what we’ve done is gone to those units and say, ‘Could you do things more efficiently if there’s a few of you here and yet we gave you a few more things to do?’ And they have. They stepped to the table and have done a great job.”
Under the school’s new capital budget, a new academic building and dorm will be built. Henderson said that a number of students are on campus and that the new dorm will double the number of students that can be housed. Henderson also believes that it will give NJCU the opportunity to recruit students from outside the state’s borders.
As for what NJCU can do for Jersey City, Henderson said that the school will be much more relevant to the community. According to Henderson, Jersey City is on the rise and that NJCU needs to be a part of that.
Henderson said the biggest challenge in higher education is tuition, which is pricing half of students out of the higher education market. She said that NJCU tries to make sure students who need financial assistance can attend tuition free.
“So one of the things that we try to do at NJCU is this — we try to make sure that students who come to us … can effectively go free,” Henderson said. “So I did a study last year to look at our students who come to us and they come to us from all socioeconomic backgrounds. If you come from lower strata you do go free. We need to make sure we get them in the door and out in a timely manner so their Pell money doesn’t grow out, their federal money doesn’t grow out, nor does the state money.”
Henderson said that students that do attend free should be able to graduate with their degree within four to six years.