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April 28, 2016

Talk about college becoming unaffordable, a New Jersey state comptroller audit of three state schools found that the average student paid between $3,600 and $4,600 in fees, over and above tuition and board. The comptroller audited The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Kean University, and William Paterson University and found that these schools charged full-time students more than $115 million in mandatory fees for fiscal year 2013.

William Paterson was the only one of the three that could provide documentation justifying its fees. At TCNJ, the Office of the State Comptroller was told that fees were not assessed on an individual basis -- for instance, lab fees for lab courses -- but assessed and increased at the same percentage in order to balance the school’s budget.

What’s more, despite assessing students as many as 25 different fees for such items as “technology,” and “athletics and recreation,” TCNJ and Kean did not maintain separate accounts for these fees. Instead, they comingled the funds.

State Comptroller James Degnan suggested that schools have written policies and procedures regarding their fees, and also indicate how the fees will be spent. All three schools said they would update the fee descriptions on their websites.

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