A coalition of Rutgers University students has requested a 20% tuition cut and the elimination of campus fees, as most fall instruction will be remote during the continued pandemic.

The Rutgers One collective circulated an online petition, which cites the financial stress of COVID-19 on household income, health coverage and part-time job opportunities for students.

The petition also describes online learning as "a legitimate form of quality education," but continues that "the university is wholly unprepared to provide a high level of quality online education for all students."

In response, a university spokesperson said to New Jersey 101.5 that "the university does not anticipate any reduction in tuition."

"The Rutgers Board of Governors took the unprecedented step of freezing tuition and fees for the upcoming year. This action was taken in recognition of the economic stresses that confront every member of our community and despite cost increases in virtually every area of our operation," the spokesperson said, also noting that Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway already has announced a 15% reduction in campus fees for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Holloway, in his first day on the job in July, announced he would be taking a 10% salary cut due to the university's financial concerns stemming from the public health crisis.

The student and staff coalition also proposed a $200,000 cap on university management and athletics salaries, as well as the use of both unrestricted reserves and recent government stimulus and aid funds to help make up the difference of the proposed tuition cut.

It based its proposal, in part on an independent financial audit by Howard Bunsis of Eastern Michigan University.

The online petition also supports the Coalition of Rutgers Unions’ demands for reversal of all recent layoffs, while also requesting that computer fees go toward providing Wi-Fi and laptops to students according to needs, in order to "foster equitable learning conditions."

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