Statement on State Budget Appropriations for FY2004

Richard L. McCormick, President
July 1, 2003

Rutgers appreciates that the state budget for fiscal year 2004 restores close to half of the proposed $39.4 million cut in state support for the university. While we have not yet seen all the details, our preliminary assessment indicates that this budget also reduces several other cuts that were initially proposed for higher education. For example, the state budget restores full funding for the Outstanding Scholars Recruitment Program, which is so crucial for keeping the best students from leaving New Jersey to attend college, and provides additional support for students of limited financial means through increases in the Tuition Aid Grant program.

We want to thank Governor James E. McGreevey and the members of the New Jersey Legislature, who listened carefully to concerns raised by Rutgers students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, board members, parents and friends. Our elected officials have shown that they recognize the importance of strong colleges and universities to New Jersey's future prosperity.

While the final budget avoids the serious damage threatened by the original funding proposal, the university will still need to find ways to absorb a cut of $20 million to its budget. We understand that the state's financial situation requires sacrifices from all state agencies, and some reductions in university programs along with a tuition increase will be required at Rutgers.

In the years ahead, Rutgers will need and will seek additional state support to strengthen its top priorities of offering an excellent education to our students, conducting innovative research that contributes to the state's competitiveness in the global economy, and serving the people of New Jersey. We remain committed to becoming a top-ranked national research university. New Jersey deserves no less.