As a gusher of cash cascades into Rutgers football, the university is funding academics at lower and lower rates — thus the school’s plummet into the nether reaches of US News & World Reports’ ranking of public universities (Rutgers is 20 among publics and falling).
Money still talks — and at Rutgers its absence (save for football, where there is a reckless $100+ million stadium expansion plan and the coach with a lifetime losing record now is the state of New Jersey’s highest paid public worker) is why the university’s academics are increasingly silent.
Here is how grave the situation is — and why we are there in the first place: “Our education system has already been impacted by budget difficulties. Over three years, New Jersey’s colleges and universities have lost $266 million in funding. The proposed 2009 budget provides Rutgers with less than we received 11 years ago. During that same time, the state budget doubled and Rutgers’ enrollment grew by 4,000 students,” writes Michael Palis, interim dean of the Rutgers-Camden Faculty of Arts and Sciences, in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed.
In the 2009 New Jersey budget, Rutgers is slated to lose another $38 million in funding — and that will translate into yet more deferred maintenance, more teacher layoffs, more classes canceled.
All of this is why Rutgers now ranks #117 in the new index of universities issued by the Center for College Affordability & Productivity. Rutgers simply has become a very bad buy — roughly comparable to the University of Dayton. The once proud public ivy has become a weed.
The message for New Jersey’s high school seniors, the Class of 2009, is stark: Plan to go out of state for a quality higher education. You just won’t find it in New Jersey.