Seton Hall President Joseph Nyre announced on Thursday that the University would hike the price of undergraduate tuition by 3.5% and lay off 10% of its administration and staff in response to forecasts by the school that show a $33.2 million reduction in revenue for the upcoming academic year.
The hike will put a full academic year for an undergraduate student at $45,290 per year, before financial aid – up nearly $1,510 from last year.
The hike comes as the National Bureau of Economic Research officially declared that the United States had entered a recession on Monday.
“The unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession,” the nonprofit organization said in a press release, “even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions.”
During the last recession, which began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, Seton Hall raised tuition by 6.4% for the 2008-2009 academic year – a little less than double the increase that students will see for the coming academic year.
Still, the current economic conditions have caused come colleges and universities in New Jersey, which was hit particularly hard from both an economic and public health perspective, to give pause to the idea of a tuition increase.
So far, a contingent of four public and private universities in the state – Rowan University, Felician University, Georgian Court University and Saint Peter's University – all have announced their intentions to freeze tuition for the upcoming academic year.
“Although the University faces a loss of $33 million in revenue this year because of the fallout related to COVID-19, we will not make up any portion of the difference by further burdening our students,” Rowan University President Ali Houshmand said in a message to students posted on the University’s website on May 1.
The Rutgers University system, which serves roughly 51,000 undergraduate students at three campuses across the state has also explored the idea of a tuition freeze, with Rutgers University President Robert Barchi announcing in April that he would recommend a tuition freeze to the University’s Board of Governors in response to the public health crisis.
“Although much remains to be determined about the coming budget year, one thing is certain,” Barchi said, “We cannot and will not close this gap on the backs of our students and their families.”
Seton Hall University President Joseph Nyre called the measures to reduce the financial burden on the University caused by COVID-19, including the decision to raise tuition on students in the midst of a recession “difficult yet prudent” measures that “demonstrate that Seton Hall is committed to students, community members and the academy.”
“Rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, our balanced actions and continued commitment to excellence will ensure the University emerges from these challenging days as a stronger, more nimble institution that demonstrates the increasing value of a Seton Hall education,” Nyre said in an email to the University community.
Seton Hall heavily relies on student tuition for its annual revenue, with 78% of the University’s $446 million in revenue coming from tuition and fees in the 2019 fiscal year, up 8% from 2018 according to IRS fillings from the school.
Nicholas Kerr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @nickdotkerr.