Covering College Costs


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Students like Indian Hills alumnus Mike Hadji are seeking solutions to the rising cost of tuition at Rutgers University. The university raised tuition 7.8% in 2007 and 8.5% in 2008, but managed to keep the increase in 2009 to 3% – as it was mandated by the legislature which did not apply the budget cap to fees.

Mike Hadji’s partial solution has been to partner with a company known as College Works Painting which, for the last 25 years, has been providing the training and infrastructure that allows college students to essentially operate their own business over the summer. Instruction and support is provided with respect to the painting and prep work involved, and a healthy dose of business management.

Mike, as an account leader in this area, coordinates the estimates, the schedule, and the workers. He taps into his own network of friends and family to fill positions that range from canvassing sales, prep, painting and administrative work – plus he scrapes, power-washes, primes and paints with his crew.

click to see cost of Rutgers

click to see cost of Rutgers

NJ tax dollars support the institution with near 300 million dollars for operational costs, and some elected officials are calling on more oversight to contain rising costs. Those seeking more accountability argue that the cost of tuition at Rutgers is already beyond the reach of many residents whose tax dollars support the university. According to a study published in Business Week, college costs are up by 23% since 2000 but real pay for young college grads is down 11% over the same period.

In the meantime, students like Mike are doing the prep work now to make money during the summer months. If any readers are interested in getting an estimate from Mike, he can be contacted at