Board of Trustees' Support for Student Financial Aid

September 25, 2018

Members of the Rutgers Community:

As we begin a new year at Rutgers, I am pleased to inform you of the good work of the Rutgers University Board of Trustees and its task force on student aid.

Over the course of the 2017-18 academic year, a group of our trustees analyzed the financial assistance needs of students at Rutgers. They examined a range of related issues, including dependence on financial aid, food insecurity, the need for emergency funding, and other financial pressures that can impede our students’ academic progress. Our trustees recognize the burdens that many students face around these issues and have completed a report that makes recommendations for action.  My administration will be considering how best to implement the report’s recommendations in the months ahead.

As a direct outcome of the task force effort, the Board of Trustees voted today to take the laudable step of providing $2 million in tuition grants, emergency financial assistance, and operating support to student-based food pantries at university locations in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden through 2022. These funding sources are a lifeline for students struggling to pay tuition or faced with a short-term financial emergency, and the Board’s commitment to supplementing them is extremely gratifying.

These funds represent the spending allocation from eight separate endowed funds under the control of the Board of Trustees. The Trustees passed a resolution to dedicate these funds to our fiscal year 2018 budget in June, and yesterday reaffirmed that commitment for each fiscal year through 2022.

I want to thank the Board of Trustees and especially applaud the leadership of the trustees on the task force: Jose Piazza (task force chair), Roberta Kanarick, Tolulope Oyetunde, Mary Papamarkou, James Rhodes, and Dudley Rivers.  My special thanks to our former chair, Bill Best, for his leadership, and to the incoming chair of the Board of Trustees, Mary DiMartino, for her continued focus on this important work. Under their leadership, the Board has made student aid a major priority.

Our trustees reflect our community: many of them are the children of immigrants, the first in their families to pursue advanced degrees, worked through college, and understand firsthand the financial hardships students can face. Their actions show their deep commitment to our community and our students. I can’t thank the Board enough for dedicating their time to examining issues of student aid and for committing these endowment funds to such an important use.


Robert Barchi