Are Rutgers students and taxpayers paying more for “settlements, buyouts and golden parachutes”?

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Tuition is on the rise at Rutgers University again, Save Jerseyans, to the tune of 2.3% for the 2018-2019 academic year.

What, exactly, are students paying for?

On Monday, state Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) unloaded on New Jersey’s largest university system for making students pay for reportedly over $11.5 million in “settlements, buyouts and golden parachutes” for employees:

“The cost of higher education is skyrocketing in New Jersey and it’s no secret why. It is unconscionable that a State-funded university would have the gall to raise tuition, and then turn right back around and give away millions of dollars to elite employees. These golden parachutes are an outrageous misuse of funds. Rutgers owes students and taxpayers an explanation. After all, they pay their salary.

Our goal is to ensure that students who go to high school in New Jersey, can continue their education at a great in-State college, get great career training, and continue to live and work in the state they call home. How can we expect them to do that if our flagship university refuses to do anything to make higher education more affordable?

Talk to any college student on campus – they do not want their tuition dollars spent on multi-million dollar payouts to coaches and administrators who make enough money as it is. This fiscally-irresponsible practice must come to an end.”

Pennacchio believes Rutgers should pay for its missteps.

Back in 2013, after former basketball coach Mike Rice received a $475,000 payout following allegations of physical abuse and gay slurs, he introduced a budget resolution to dock Rutgers’ state aid allotment in the amount of $2.1 million. Rutgers would’ve also been required to demonstrate that pay outs were funded by administrative sources as opposed to state aid or tuition hikes.

“The $11.5 million in payouts would cover the cost of tuition and fees for about 800 Rutgers students,” Pennacchio added. “In fact, the payout recently-departed Chancellor Dutta received would pay for about 32 students. Chancellor Dutta spent one year in his current role, and now he’s getting paid half a million dollars to walk away from the job. That’s insane. Tuition dollars should be spent on students, not boat checks for administrators.”

“It is completely unfair and unjust to ask taxpayers and students to continue to subsidize this kind of reckless spending. We will continue to work hard to hold Rutgers University accountable for how they handle State resources,” Pennacchio concluded.

Rutgers University is heavily-subsidized by New Jersey taxpayers; it receives in excess of $400 million in state aid on an annual basis.