The odds of a tuition-and-fee decrease are slim to none at any public college or university.

For another year, the price has gone up for full-time in-state tuition in New Jersey at each public four-year school.

And while the senior institutions understand no one wants to pay more for anything, they say they're doing the best they can to both provide a high-quality education and address the economic difficulties they've been facing for years.

Overall, tuition and fees at the senior public schools have risen by an average of about 2.4 percent.

Changes in tuition for the fall

College — Undergrad in-state tuition — % change from last year

New Jersey Institute of Technology — $17,338 — 2.6%
The College of New Jersey — $16,571 — 2.6%
Rutgers University — $14,975 — 2.3%
Ramapo College of New Jersey — $14,374 — 2%
Stockton University — $13,738 — 2.5%
Rowan University — $13,697 — 2%
William Paterson University — $13,060 — 1.9%
Montclair State University — $12,710 — 2%
Kean University — $12,348 — 1.9%
New Jersey City University — $12,052 — 2.4%
Thomas Edison State University — $7,519 — 3%

According to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, which represents all the schools listed above except Rutgers and NJIT, the average percentage increase has ranged between 2.2 and 2.4 percent over the past five years.

"And they've really worked extremely hard to keep it at that rate," said Pam Hersh, NJASCU's director of communications. "They're very, very responsible and responsive and sensitive to trying to make their schools affordable."

From 1991 to 2016, appropriations per full-time equivalent student at New Jersey's public colleges and universities decreased by 40.1 percent, while enrollment increased by 63.2 percent, according to NJASCU.

Officials at Stockton, which receives the lowest per-student state aid among the state public colleges, said they've been working with state legislators to review and revise how public colleges are funded.

“We will do everything we can to ensure equitable funding,” university president Harvey Kesselman said in a news release. “This is critical for Stockton which has been under-funded since its first commencement. We are fighting for that.”

Rutgers noted its 2.3 percent tuition/fee increase for 2018 is lower than the increases at several institutions in neighboring states.

"For the past five years, we have worked hard to keep tuition increases to an absolute minimum," Rutgers President Robert Barchi said when the university announced the latest rates in July. "Rutgers, along with all public colleges and universities across the country, is facing significant financial challenges and making difficult choices to keep tuition and fee increases as low as possible while maintaining our commitment to excellent programs, teaching, research and service."

State institutions, NJASCU said, also have their hands tied by unfunded state mandates that require certain segments of the population be provided with a free education. This costs each NJASCU school hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

The association, meanwhile, continues to advocate for a change in the 32-year-old State College Contracts Law that imposes restrictions on a state school's ability to enter into purchasing and construction contracts — restrictions that do not apply to research institutions.

"Some of our presidents claim they could get away with even much smaller tuition and fee increases if that law were reformed," Hersh said.

Check back after September 1 for a run-down of tuition-and-fee increases at NJ's county and independent institutions.

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