Wednesday, April 19 to Friday, April 21, the Board of Visitors at the College of William and Mary voted to increase tuition by 4.7% for in-state and 4.9% for out-of-state undergraduate students and approved a $556.7 million budget for Fiscal Year 2024, as well as faculty promotions and retirements.
“Tuition increases [from 2025 to 2028] will match: A three year, retrospective average of CPI, to smooth the effects of rapid change in inflation; plus adjustments to cover unfunded mandatory cost increases, minus future Commonwealth allocations,” the resolution on long-term tuition policy reads.
The Board also approved the appointment of Suzanne Raitt as dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences. The board approved 23 resolutions during the session.
This marks the last meeting for board members James A. Hixon J.D. ’79, M.L.T. ’80, P ’08, ’11 and Karen Kennedy Schultz ’75, P ’06, ’09, ’12, who have reached their eight-year term limits. Gov. Glenn Youngkin will appoint their replacements, which the Virginia General Assembly must approve.
As mandated by Va. Code §23.1-307.D, the board held a public hearing on raising tuition on Wednesday, April 19. Interim Chief Operating Officer Jackie Ferree gave a presentation breaking down how the College spends tuition money before giving students an opportunity to provide input.
Connor Dendler ’24 was the only student to speak after Ferree’s presentation.
“I’m curious as to…the discussion on how these costs will be offset for low-income students who should not be barred from access to this school for the sake of compensating what could be argued are quite inflated administrative salaries,” Dendler said. “I’m just going to relay that and ask that when these decisions are made, they’re made with the concern of low-income students in mind.”
Committee on Financial Affairs and Full Board Meetings
In a report to the board, Ferree also provided updates on plans for major building projects around campus. These plans include the construction of three new residence halls, which combined will offer over 1,400 beds to undergraduate students, as well the construction of a new dining hall.
Phase 1 construction for West Woods 1A and Jamestown East is set to begin this summer and is projected to last 20 to 24 months. Construction on West Woods 1B will begin in the summer of 2024.
Ferree also presented proposals to increase tuition and fees, as well as the projected FY 2024 Operating Budget. The administration cited tuition hikes to help fund initiatives needed to keep the College competitive for years to come and properly adjust for inflation.
“William and Mary is committed to the lowest increases that allow us to fulfill the mission of the university and ensure its excellence and preeminence,” College President Katherine Rowe said to the board during Friday’s meeting.
Some board members expressed concerns that tuition increases could negatively impact the College’s ability to draw prospective applicants towards the College in future years. The fiscal proposal was already revised once before being voted on by the Board.
“We have raised tuition to the point where William and Mary is the most expensive in-state tuition in the country,” Brian Woolfolk J.D. ’96 said. “That’s a designation that I think we should all be embarrassed about. We also have some of the worst socioeconomic diversity of any public schools in the country as well. That’s not a combination that I can support. I appreciate the work that’s been done. I think we have to do a lot more work on figuring out ways to generate other revenue.”
Others in the majority group cited tuition hikes as necessary to maintain high quality of the College.
“This is a hard decision, but I do think we need to raise tuition,” Vice Rector Barbara L. Johnson J.D. ‘84 said. “I can accept the revised proposal. I’m not sure if we can do anything better than that.”
Johnson also said that the increase in tuition can offer assistance for increased financial aid for low-income and middle-income families.
“I’m not comfortable that it’s enough. Simply because costs are going up for everyone. Everyone else on the market is charging higher rates and inflation is going up. Our pressure is to keep it flat because we care about our students, their families and the impact,” J.E. Lincoln Saunders ’06 said.
Board member Anne Leigh Kerr ’91, J.D. ’98 proposed an amendment to lower tuition and fee increases from 4.5% to 4.0% for in-state students and raise them from 4.7% to 5.1% for out-of-state students.
“My amendment has a minimal change to the out-of-state and in-state percentage in dollar amounts while still recognizing the additional contributions of Virginia families through paying taxes and other economic inputs,” Kerr said.
Johnson voiced opposition to the amendment.
“There’s a point where the amount that we charge out-of-state students will create an incentive for them to go somewhere else,” Johnson said. “And that’s perhaps an unintended consequence of just raising out-of-state tuition to benefit in-state tuition.”
Kerr, Stephen J. Huebner ’76, P ’09, John E. Littel P ’22, Laura Keehner Rigas ’01 and Woolfolk voted ‘yes’ on the amendment, which ultimately failed.
“We had to figure out another model or else we’re going to keep on and 10, 15 years from now, we’re going to be charging $50,000 and that’s unacceptable.”
To offset the costs, Woolfolk pointed to other areas where the College could raise funds. One solution he proposed was better leveraging the College’s brand through online education and professional certification programs, as well as through federal grants for research.
“We had to figure out another model or else we’re going to keep on and 10, 15 years from now, we’re going to be charging $50,000 and that’s unacceptable,” Woolfolk said.
Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance
The board heard reports from Director of Internal Audit Kent Erdahl and Chief Compliance Officer Pamela Mason.
Erdahl presented assessments of different internal audits at the College to the board. All categories received an “A” rating besides International Travel, Highland Audit, Athletics IC/Donor Spend and SOE Internal Control.
According to the presentation, the audit of the Raymond A. Mason School of Business represented the best performance among all departments.
Rowe commended Erdahl’s work, who recently took office, noting that the auditing process previously lacked clarity.
Board member C. Michael Petters MBA ’93 relayed concerns about the board not having access to the presentations prior to the meeting.
“When you turn around and say, ‘Here are the two reports that we’re doing, do you have any questions?’ I don’t know how we can have any questions because we’re hearing about it for the very first time. And so I would ask that we take advantage of the functionality and post your report to the audit committee, post it a week ahead of time so we can actually have a chance to get through it,” Petters said.
Mason then gave a presentation on the College’s data on Title IX and Violence Against Women Act compliance, noting an uptick of sexual violence reports.
“The biggest uptick is in sexual harassment reports. This is a hostile environment, unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, and we noticed that some of these, unfortunately, are being alleging misconduct by faculty or staff,” Mason said.
To mitigate these issues, Mason said the College will be conducting additional trainings against sexual violence for faculty and staff members.
Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds
Ferree presented on the College’s future building plans.
Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds
Resolution 1: Approval of the demolition of the Oyster Hatchery at Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) to allow for future development on the Gloucester Point Campus
Resolution 2: Approval of the VIMS 2024-2030 Six-Year Capital Plan
Resolution 3: Approval of the College 2024-2030 Six-Year Capital Plan
Richard Bland College Committee
Resolution 4: Approval of the Richard Bland College FY24 Operating Budget
Resolution 5: Approval of the Richard Bland College FY24 Tuition and Fees
Resolution 6: Approval of a Manufacturing Technician Certificate program at Richard Bland College
Resolution 7: Approval of a Manufacturing Engineering Technology Degree program at Richard Bland College
Resolution 8: Approval of promotions of Timothy Rohrbach and Jason Pode to Associate Professor at Richard Bland College
Resolution 9: Approval of Stacey Sokol to fill the position of Chief Business Officer of Richard Bland College
Resolution 10: Recognition of the Richard Bland College Women’s Basketball Team who finished runner-up in the Women’s DII NJCAA National Championship
Resolution 11: Conferral of Honorary Degree to Thomas L. Walker, founder and CEO of DroneUp
Committee on Academic Affairs
Resolution 12: Fill Vacancies in the Instructional Faculty:
- Andrew D. Dustan, Assistant Professor of Economics
- Kaitlyn Harrigan, Assistant Professor of Linguistics and English
- Archana B. Kaku, Assistant Professor of Government
- J. Nicole Medved, Professor of the Practice of Law
- Katelynn A. Perrault, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
- James J. Wheaton, Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Resolution 13: Award of Academic Tenure to:
- Wanjiru Mbure, Department of English
- David A. Yalof, Department of Government
Resolution 14: Faculty Promotions
- Associate Professor to Professor
- Dorothea La “Chon” Abraham, Mason School of Business
- Alan C. Braddock, Department of Art & Art History and American Studies
- M. Brennan Harris, Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
- Marcus Holmes, Department of Government
- John M. Parman, Department of Economics
- William G. Reay, School of Marine Science
- Philip G. Roessler, Department of Government
- Tomoyuki Sasaki, Department of Modern Languages & Literatures
- Monica J. Seger, Department of Modern Languages & Literatures
- Jaime E. Settle, Department of Government and Data Science
- Christopher S. Tucker, Department of Philosophy
- Kristin Wustholz, Department of Chemistry
- Clinical Assistant Professor to Clinical Associate Professor
- Jessica L. Martin, School of Education
Resolution 15: Designated Professorships
- David A. Dominique, Sallie Gertrude Smoot Spears Associate Professor of Music
- Vivian Hamilton, Chancellor Professor of Law
- Laura A. Heymann, James G. Cutler Professor of Law
- Michael G. Hill, Vera Barkley Associate Professor of Modern Languages &
- Michael Iyanaga, John & Audrey Leslie Associate Professor of Music
- Adwait Nadkarni, Class of 1953 Associate Professor of Computer Science
- Christopher Patrick, Class of 1963 Associate Professor of Marine Science
- Jennifer L. Putzi, Sara and Jess Cloud Professor of English
- Joshua Puzey, Broderick Family/Goldman Sachs Associate Professor of Biology
- Andrew M. Scheld, Moses D. Nunnally Associate Professor of Marine Science
- Justin R. Stevens, Wilson P. & Martha Claiborne Stephens Associate Professor of Physics
Resolution 16: Leaves of Absence approval for:
- Sharan Grewal, Assistant Professor of Government, to accept a fellowship with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School for the 2023-24 academic year
- Ayfer Karakaya-Stump, Associate Professor of History, to accept a fellowship with the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) for the fall 2023 semester
- Betsy Konefal, Associate Professor of History, to participate in an exchange with the University of Leiden in the Netherlands for the spring 2024 semester
- Emily Wilcox, Associate Professor of Chinese Studies, to accept a fellowship with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey for the fall 2023 semester
Resolution 17: Acknowledgement of the retirement of Brian W. Blouet, School of Education
Resolution 18: Acknowledgement of the retirement of Ronald R. Sims, Raymond A. Mason School of Business
Committee on Financial Affairs
Resolution 19: Execution of Grounds Lease, Contingent Support Lease and Retire Existing Debt
Resolution 20: Approval of VIMS FY24 Operating Budget
Resolution 21: Approval of W&M FY24 Operating Budget
Resolution 22: Approval of FY24 Tuition & Fees
Resolution 23: Approval of Long-Term Tuition Policy
The full resolutions can be found under the corresponding committee’s agenda materials here.