Thomas Edison State College (TESC) had the edge against its competitors (Excelsior College and Charter Oak State College) due to its lack of capstone requirements for most degree programs. TESC's Enrolled Options tuition plan was already more expensive than similar options at other schools; they are just increasing that gap. Now, non-New Jersey students have to pay $663 for the capstone on top of the $2,958 enrollment fee.
Although I think it should be optional, the capstone makes sense at the baccalaureate-level for those who plan to continue on to graduate school. A capstone at the associate's-level makes little sense because the people who stop at this level are mostly looking for career training or to fulfill employment requirements. They aren't looking to become researchers or academics. Community colleges rarely require a capstone.
If TESC insists on adding capstones to all of its associate's programs, I advise everyone to complete an associate's at a community college. There are plenty of online options. There are even community colleges that are inexpensive for out-of-state and out-of-district students. On top of that, there are even some that are more liberal with their CLEP, DSST, and Excelsior College Exam policies. TESC seems to have forgotten that it is supposed to be a flexible option for adult learners. The capstone leaves students bogged down in a 12-week course. Many community colleges offer 8-week courses in addition to being cheaper. And, community colleges offer all of the courses needed for all of their degree programs; TESC does not.