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Stockton tuition, fees rise 2 percent

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Tuition and mandatory fees will rise 2 percent for all students at Stockton University, the school's trustees decided Wednesday.

The costs for in-state undergraduate students attending Stockton full-time will rise to $12,820 for the 2015-16 academic year, up from $12,569. Out-of-state students will pay $19,471 for the year, up from $19,089.

"We have worked hard, including rigorous fiscal management and expanded fund-raising for scholarships, to minimize increases while providing an excellent Stockton education," Harvey Kesselman, the school's acting president, said in a statement.

The cost of meal plans will increase 2 percent as well, which school officials said was a result of both inflation and the addition of nine days to each semester.

Part of the increase in meal rates — about $30,000, university officials estimated — will be used for a new voucher program for financially needy students.

Student leaders concerned about poor students skipping meals helped developed the program, after convincing the board to shelve an earlier proposal for a 2.5 percent increase. Those students essentially conducted research and presented data on the need for a program, Kesselman said in a phone interview.

"They really were articulate in laying out why they thought there was a need to have a set-aside program in essence for students to have funds available on an emergency basis," Kesselman said.

The trustees also approved a $227,916,488 budget that includes $1,139,720 in expenses for the former Showboat casino property. That site was supposed to be sold to Florida developer Glenn Straub last week.

Straub instead sued Stockton to delay settlement, so the university continues to hold the building empty, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each month in maintenance and operation costs.