p. Yesterday, the College’s Board of Visitors approved increases in undergraduate tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students.
Tuition and fees for in-state students — currently $8,490 — will increase 8.5 percent, to $9,210. Non-Virginian students, who paid $25,048 this year, should expect an increase of 7.5 percent, totaling $26,934.
p. With room and board included, in-state undergraduates will pay a total cost of $16,595, a 7.6 percent increase from this year’s $15,422. Out-of-state students will pay $34,319, a 7.3 percent increase from this year’s $31,980.
p. The percent increase in tuition and fees is less than last year’s increase of 9 and 8.2 percent for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively. The tuition hike follows a national trend among universities, with most of the College’s peer institutions — including public colleges such as the University of Virginia and private institutions such as Boston College — experiencing similar increases.
p. According to Vice President for finance Samuel Jones the tuition hike will assist the College in fulfilling its “Six-Year Academic Plan,” with goals that include increasing the average faculty salary and promoting faculty research. Jones hopes to fulfill a 5 percent budget hike for teaching and research by the fiscal year 2010.
Jones said that undergraduate tuition supplements a variety of revenue that is designed to increase the College’s academic program and keep it in competition with its peer institutions.
p. “The balance of tuition revenue is supplemented by incremental state dollars, allowing the College to address targeted areas of investment across campus, including faculty and staff salaries, faculty research, graduate student aid, base operations, operating costs associated with new facilities coming on-line and the continued restructuring of various College activities,” Jones said.
Jones also said that the College’s in-state tuition was a bargain compared to the College’s peer institutions, providing a greater incentive for Virginia residents to attend the College. He also said, however, that the gap between the College’s tuition and that of other universities is narrowing.
p. While tuition increases are standard annual practices for most of the country’s colleges and universities, BOV member Jeffrey L. McWaters said that he worried for working families — particularly in Virginia — who are faced with tuition increases that become increasingly less affordable.
p. “What happens in America when coming to college costs over $20,000 for a working family?” McWaters said.
Jones said that the tuition increases will also help fund scholarship programs and financial aid for students who cannot afford a college education.
p. Vice Rector Henry Wolf added that the College, faced with increasing costs and less state support, is playing financial “catch-up.” One way of balancing increasing costs, Wolf said, is to raise tuition.
p. College President Gene Nichol said that affordability has always been a concern for the College and noted that the College is ranked the third best value in higher education by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.
p. The board also stressed the importance of communication between the College and families concerning financial matters. BOV secretary Suzann Matthews asked Jones if families were aware that tuition and fees will increase annually.
BOV Rector Michael Powell agreed with Matthews.
p. “I wonder whether schools are being thoughtful and fully disclosing,” Powell said about tuition increases.