The University of Virginia Board of Visitors this week will consider a 2015-16 academic year tuition proposal that advances strategic priorities while maintaining U.Va.’s position as one of higher education’s best values.
Under the proposal, undergraduate tuition and required fees for Virginia residents would increase by 3.6 percent, or $470, from $12,998 to $13,468. The corresponding rate for out-of-state students would increase by 3.7 percent. The total price of education for an in-state student – including tuition, fees, room, board, books and travel – would increase by 3.3 percent, or $895, to $27,963, compared to $27,068 in the current academic year. For a non-Virginian, the price of a U.Va. education would increase by 3.5 percent.
“This proposal was crafted to maintain affordability and access, while enhancing academic excellence,” President Teresa A. Sullivan said. “Accomplishing those goals requires a thoughtful balance of limited resources, rising costs and, more than ever, creative financial solutions. We have also asked the board to consider raising the payout from our endowment as an additional resource instead of relying solely on tuition.”
The board will consider the proposal at its meeting Tuesday and Wednesday.
U.Va. will continue its commitment to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need of all undergraduates, and to make offers of admission with no consideration of a student’s financial situation. The University is one of only two public institutions in the country to operate admission on such a “need-blind” basis while also meeting all financial need of both in-state and out-of-state students. About 34 percent of undergraduates are projected to demonstrate financial need.
The University consistently earns national recognition for the quality and value of its education for high-achieving students. The Princeton Review this year listed U.Va. as the nation’s top public school for affordability, academics and career prospects. U.S. News & World Report rates U.Va. as the No. 2 public university in the nation, while Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has rated the University as the nation’s No. 2 best value among public universities for three straight years.
Compared with the current academic year, the University faces an incremental increase of about $34 million in operating requirements and other expenditures, which must be met using a variety of sources, including endowment distribution, savings, and, as a last resort, tuition revenue.
Following the approval of tuition rates for the current academic year, the General Assembly reduced budget allocations to Virginia public colleges and universities in response to emerging state budget restrictions. That meant U.Va. was forced to absorb an $8.2 million mid-year reduction.
This year, the legislature increased funding for higher-education enrollment increases, but the state budget also brings higher costs to state agencies for faculty and staff pay increases, and higher mandatory contributions to the Virginia Retirement System, totaling an estimated $9.8 million.
The University also is investing $1.3 million in a multiyear plan to enhance the University Library’s electronic and print resources, as well as $2.7 million in enhanced safety and student support initiatives. The latter initiatives include additional counselors at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center, sexual assault and safety education programs, upgrades to the University’s camera system, additional police officers, establishment of the Corner police substation and the operation of the “Ambassadors” program.
The University proposal creates a contingency in the event the federal Department of Education concludes the Perkins Loan program. Such a move would require an investment of $3.5 million in University funds to ensure U.Va. continues to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need of all students.
“The proposal reflects a concerted effort to carefully allocate limited resources and support strategies and initiatives that improve the student experience and sustain the value of a U.Va. education,” Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick D. Hogan said.
For Virginia residents attending the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, the proposal also recommends an increase of 4 percent, or $352, in tuition and mandatory fees.