November 28, 2020

Library late fines, caps doubled

Late fines for books are rising this year. (TCNJ website)

By Peter Cavanaugh

Students at the College who have a habit of returning their library books a few days late may be in for a surprise this semester — overdue fines have increased from $0.25 to $0.50 per day, with a new cap set at $14.

“Coming into this fiscal year, we received a 15 percent cut to our base allocation from the state. That was calculated on a base that had already been cut midyear by 6.3 percent, so the real amount relative to last year was a cut of over 20 percent,” Taras Pavlovsky, dean of the College library said in an e-mail.

“At the same time, tuition increases were capped at 4 percent,” he said. “This would have been a difficult year in anyone’s reality, but coming as it did after decreases in state support for higher education during eight of the last 11 years, it was staggering.”

The Provost and the Council of Deans spent hours discussing “alternate revenue streams” the academic side of the school could put into effect.

Pavlovsky said they examined “the amount of positive budget relief each might provide, as well as the negative effects each would have.” He acknowledged the fact that while the budget needs to be balanced, it should not be “balanced on the backs of students.”

When told about the specifics of the increase, Brian Graham, sophomore mechanical engineering major, said, “Fifty cents? That’s a dollar every two days. With a tight college budget dollars add up.”

Laura Kiernan, sophomore English secondary education major, responded similarly.

“I can understand why they are raising it,” she said. “But it’s still unfortunate.” Kiernan also expressed her disapproval over the cutting of the Print Sense program.

Pavlovsky however, reminded that fines are not a cost that every student has to pay.

“(Fines) are assessed only on those individuals who have violated some kind of policy, broken some kind of rule,” Pavlovsky said. “By increasing the overdue fine for generally circulating items from $0.25 per day to $0.50 per day, we hope to make a positive contribution to the College’s budget hole without adding unnecessarily to the students’ burden.”

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