BOV approves mid-year tuition hike

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November 20, 2009

10:06 AM

The College of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors unanimously approved a resolution to enforce a $300 mid-year tuition increase in a Nov. 20 meeting.

The increase will go into effect for the spring 2010 semester and will affect in-state undergraduates, out-of-state undergraduates, law students and business students. School of Education students, Virginia Marine Institute of Science students and Gateway students will not be affected.

The BOV’s Committee on Financial Affairs generated the resolution.

With no additional budget cuts, the tuition increase, along with faculty reduction and reallocated federal stimulus money, will balance the College’s budget deficit for the remaining fiscal year. Faculty reduction includes a cut of 18 professional and classified staff positions — six through vacancies and attrition, and 12 through layoffs.

“The challenge for higher education and mid-year cuts is that you are all staffed up, the students are already here, the faculty is already here, classes are being taught,” Vice President for Finance Sam Jones ’75 M.B.A. ’80 said. “You have limited flexibility to find mid-year actions. That’s why faculty positions are eliminated on a year-to-year basis. So that puts more pressure on the staff side of it.”

According to Jones, the finance office has already held meetings with those in control of the budgets for various departments to identify the positions that could be cut in the event of layoffs being necessary.

“The decisions have been made,” Jones said.

These cuts come as a response to a 15 percent, or $6.2 million, reduction in state funding during the
current fiscal year. To help combat this cut, the state has reallocated $2.8 million in federal stimulus money originally slated for next year into this fiscal year’s budget. As a result, the College will have only $1 million in stimulus money to cushion any budget shortfalls in 2011.

“[The] next fiscal year will be even more challenging than this fiscal year,” College President Taylor Reveley said.

During it’s meeting, the BOV discussed the necessity for a new financial model for the College. BOV member
Timothy Dunn ’83 discussed moving toward “a private institution with state support.”

Reveley also expressed support for an increase in the percentage of out-of-state students enrolled at the College.

“We have got to have our out-of-state students and we have got to increase in-state tuition if we are going to figure [the College’s financial situation] out,” Reveley said.

Student Assembly Chief of Staff Charles Crimmins J.D. ’10 voiced his displeasure with the mid-year tuition increase.

“[SA President Sarah Rojas ’10] and I have made it clear to leaders of the College that we are against a mid-year tuition increase because of the tremendous burden it places on students,” Crimmins wrote in an e-mail to the Flat Hat. “We understand that the Commonwealth has left the College’s operating budget $17 million short and that students must do their part to keep the College competitive, but we are disappointed that students were not given time to plan for the additional expense and responsibility.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, BOV Rector Henry Wolf ’64 J.D. ’66 pointed out that universities across the country have been dealing with tough financial times.

“With our communications plan and a legislative plan, as we move forward we need to be prepared and organized,” Wolf said. “We are unique, but we are not so unique that we can carry this ball by ourselves. We have to coordinate with other universities. This is not a William and Mary issue but a higher education issue.”

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