To the Editor:

As a former student at Somerset County College, now Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC), I can still recall the reasons I attended: Quality education and Affordability. 

Over the years, I have been pleased to see RVCC maintain its high level of academic achievement. In fact, my son attended RVCC after graduating from Hillsborough High in 2000 and went on to get a BS, a Master’s degree, and now has a successful career.

But over the last 6 years I have noticed a disturbing trend. While maintaining a high level of academic achievement, affordability has become a major concern. I see this first hand as I am involved in two non-profit organizations that provide scholarships to students who describe how critical scholarship funding is to their ability to afford RVCC.

A major source of funding for RVCC is Somerset County. Therefore, it is disheartening that year-after-year the Somerset County Freeholders fund RVCC at marginal dollar amounts, while year-after-year they generously increase funding for the Park Commission. For example, since 2012, RVCC funding increased a total of $185,945, while allocations to the Park Commission increased $2,683,382. Good quality parks and golf courses are an important element of a community, but affordable high-quality education is the foundation for individual success and a critical component to the overall health and well-being of society. 

So, this letter is about priorities and as such, I call upon the Freeholders to take stock of what is critical to building a better future for Somerset County residents and our community, and provide desperately needed funding for RVCC, returning AFFORDABILITY to the quality education we've come to expect from RVCC.

Michael Goldberg