Although the College of William and Mary is known as an excellent public institution of higher education institution Virginia, for much of its history the school functioned as a private institution. The College became public, just after the Civil War, when the school could no longer survive on private finances and to resort to the support provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In regard to, the College’s current financial troubles, but the tables have been turned. The lack of state funds is hindering the College’s ability to continue construction and renovation on a variety of projects, the most noticeable of which is St. George Tucker Hall. The building remains idle and gutted of most of its interior furnishings, waiting for state funds so that the renovation can be completed.
Beyond Tucker, a host of other projects are pending sufficient funding, including work on Morton Hall and the expansion of our arts facilities. While all of the necessary work cannot happen simultaneously, these ventures are essential, and loom in the near future. Additionally, with state and federal funds continually declining, it is becoming more and more difficult to find the finances to allow construction projects to continue so that this institution can remain one of the best in the country.
Compounding the issue is the disparity between in-state and out-of-state tuition. The College admits roughly one-third of its student body from out-of-state, but these students bear a much higher tuition bill. It follows that while only a third of students are out-of-state, they represent the vast majority of tuition revenue vital to the College’s yearly fiscal budget.
To increase tuition revenue, the College could push for the admittance of more out-of-state students to increase tuition revenue, but this would require a change in Virginia state law and seems unlikely. This proposed solution also does not resolve the issue mentioned above regarding the disparity in tuition between Virginians and non-Virginians.
Another option is to increase tuition. Tuition rates, for both in-state and out-of-state students, have been steadily rising and were increased again just before the beginning of the 2010-2011 academic year. Once again, this solution fails to address the issue of inequality between in-state and out-of-state tuition bills.
The most practical solution that can fix both problems of is the privatization of the College. With this option, the College would to rely upon fluctuating state funds for vital projects, could continue to remain financially stable in the long run and, most importantly, remain one of the best institutions of higher education in the country.
I fully understand the backlash that would be felt from in-state students regarding the increase in their tuition. They should keep in mind, however, that the out-of-state students have been paying private-college tuition for the same exact privileges provided to Virginians. While in-state tuition has been rising as well it, is still far below the fair market value of the opportunities provided by an education from the College. These measures would merely make the system more equitable.. Additionally, the increased tuition revenue could offset the lack of state funding and allow renovations to move forward.