Web Update: Tuition Increase Announced for Next Academic Year
Full-time, in-state students can expect an 8.8 percent rate increase bringing the average annual total cost to $17,274, according to the university press release.
Additionally, rates for out-of-state, on-campus residents will rise 5.1 percent, to $29,002.
On-campus students can expect a $1,400 tuition increase for both in-state and out-of-state students, according to both the university press release and a student-wide e-mail from President Rick Hurley.
“While the increase does not completely fill in the financial hole the University is facing next year, UMW was very cognizant of the burden these increases place on our students and families so chose to go no higher,” said Associate Vice President for University Relations and Director of Communications George Farrar.
UMW will pursue additional sources of income, including renting out UMW facilities for conferences, events and camps, and expanding summer school enrollments, Farrar added.
According to Hurley, the tuition raises will fund projects that UMW believes are essential to support its strategic plans and goals, including new academic positions and support staff, further developing the College of Business and hiring a new dean, developing the honors program and additional funding for library collections.
According to Farrar, UMW will use the money to add teaching faculty for math, journalism, Spanish and business programs. Additionally, the University will hire an Assistant Director for Disability Services, and part-time positions in international programs and in the Writing Center.
Furthermore, Farrar stated that UMW plans to make more money available for financial aid by expanding the number of students that qualify for financial need and providing extra assistance for students that already qualify.
“We all love Mary Washington and the bar is fairly high for everything we expect out of our university,” Student Government Association President Ashley Nixon said. “These expectations can only continue to exist if there is an increase in tuition.”
The tuition increase was prompted by “the declining trend in state funding, including a $1.5 million reduction next year and the end of $3.7 million in federal stimulus funding,” Hurley said.
Since 2008, Virginia has reduced UMW’s funding five times, totaling a $6.7 million loss, and state support for UMW’s operating budget has decreased by 28 percent.
UMW’s operating budget is the money required for its current expenses, where the general state budget refers to the total amount of money a state allocates to the school, and includes funding for anticipated projects and future programs.
In October of 2010, Hurley told a Student Senate forum that UMW was considering a 15 percent to 25 percent tuition increase for the 2011-2012 academic year.
However, the Board of Visitors began considering lower tuition options in November after a wave of student protests. Additionally, Gov. Bob McDonnell cut Virginia Commonwealth University’s state funding in December 2010 after it announced a 24 percent tuition hike.
“The higher rates were taken off the board in December when the Governor introduced a new approach to higher education funding and asked the Universities to partner with him. His plan called for more moderate tuition increases in return for more stable state funding in the long run” Farrar said.
Nixon is pleased with the way Hurley, the Board of Visitors and the rest of the administration listened to how the students felt about the tuition increase.
“I hope we can continue to reach middle ground on other issues in the future,” she said.
Photo: President Rick Hurley speaking at the student senate meeting in October, 2010. Olivia Snider/Bullet.