Unrestricted reserves

By Nick Huber

While students continue to pay a rising tuition, Rutgers University holds $770 million in reserves, although the use of these funds and where it comes from is unclear.

Rutgers spokesperson E.J. Miranda said unrestricted funds are accumulated over time and designated by the University to support specific programs ranging from funding education to student activities to agricultural experiment station activities.

“Currently, there is approximately $770 million in unrestricted funds that come from a variety of sources, including general fund balances, clinical income, revenue from sales and services,” Miranda said.

Rutgers will have a budget of $3.9 billion for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, up from $3.78 billion from the 2015-2016 year.

David Hughes, president of the American Association of University Professors—American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), said anyone concerned about the rising cost of higher education should think about the amount of money that is in unrestricted reserves.

“There is a surplus lying around and that should be spent on lowering the cost of education or on paying part time lecturers more on something for the benefit of instruction, enlarging the curriculum and hiring more faculty,” Hughes said.

Some of the money is earmarked for specific programs, meaning once it is designated for athletics, that money cannot be used for anything but athletics, Hughes said.

“We have all these ideas of what should be done with this surplus money,” he said. “The administration’s first answer is to say it is not an available surplus. It is money pledged to other things and we cannot take it and apply it to any of those good things you want to apply it to.”

Hughes noted that Rutgers’ unrestricted reserves has increased by $62 million from last year, proving the money is not being spent fast enough.


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