Montclair State’s annual budget for the current fiscal year is $430 million. Expenses have grown by an average of less than 2 percent annually over the past five years through conservative fiscal management.
Remaining affordable and accessible, while providing an excellent education, have remained core values for the University throughout its history. To support its commitment to affordability, the University has consistently maintained tuition rates among the lowest of the four-year public colleges and universities in the state, and increased scholarship funding by more than 63 percent over the past five years.
Keeping low tuition rates has been challenging in a state that historically does not fund its institutions well. While general operating support allocated by the State of New Jersey has increased by almost one-third in the current fiscal year, state appropriations fund only 21 percent of the operating budget today, compared to 46 percent in 2001. To fund major strategic priorities, the University has been vigilant and careful about how it spends, and it has excelled at finding opportunities to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of its operations.
Tuition and fees are the largest sources of funding for the University. For many years enrollment grew significantly. The undergraduate student population has now levelled off, but graduate enrollment continues to grow substantially, reaching record highs both last year and this year.
Credit ratings agencies continue to rate the University as a financially strong and stable university. Moody’s currently rates the University as A2, and Fitch as A+ with a stable outlook.
The University has enjoyed much recent success at developing additional revenue sources. Extramural research funding has trended strongly upward, reaching a record high of $22 million received in the most recent fiscal year, including major federal grants for projects designed to improve the inclusion of students with disabilities in K-12 education, investigate an enzyme that is thought to play a role in memory disorders, and strengthen the spatial abilities of people with Down’s syndrome, among many other topics.
Philanthropy is also becoming a more important source of funding. The Soar campaign, which concluded on June 30, 2020, raised $82 million (exceeding its goal of $75 million), of which $43 million will support academic programs, professorships and research initiatives, and $11 million will enhance athletics, expand career and academic support services, and address the most pressing needs of students. Some $28 million will support 91 new scholarship funds, 34 of which are endowed. The campaign, the biggest in University’s history, was fueled by gifts from 20,000 donors. It helped to increase the institution’s endowment to more than $90 million, the highest it has ever been.