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The Blue & Gray Press | February 24, 2018

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Tuition rises due to debt

By ALISON THOET

Student dining charges and auxiliary comprehensive fees will increase annually for the next seven years to pay for the new Campus Center, according to Paul Messplay, executive director of budget and financial analysis.

The University of Mary Washington participated in a sale of state bonds for $55 million, of which will be used to pay for the Campus Center, according to Messplay.

“It really helps keep the cost down,” said Messplay. “[It] generates the money we need right up front.”

However, this action put UMW in debt to the state, according to Messplay.

“We are essentially taking out another mortgage,” said Messplay.

To pay off this debt of $3.1 million every year, UMW has come up with a financial plan, which will increase charges on meal plans and the auxiliary comprehensive fee by two percent and three percent, respectively, each year, for seven years total.

“The main goal that we had was to minimize the cost to students each year, which is why we are spreading it out over seven years,” said Messplay.

This year, the dining program increased by $68 per student but the auxiliary comprehensive fee will not increase until the 2013-2014 school year.

After the 2014-2015 school year, there will only be increased charges for the auxiliary comprehensive fee but not for dining services. The fees will amount to over $700 per person over the next seven years.

Kiersten Anderson, a senior English and linguistics double major, commented on the price change.

“I know I’m just a student, but it seems there are more cost-effective ways to update the campus,” said Anderson. “It seems like they are just going from one building to the next.”

The auxiliary comprehensive fee includes two areas: educational and general programs and auxiliary programs, which include charges such as housing and the bookstore.

Full-time students will pay the full new costs per year, but part-time students will pay $76 per credit hour for the auxiliary comprehensive fee and the additional two percent increase for dining services, should they choose to purchase a meal plan.

Last fall, there were 5,093 total students, of which 4,021 were full-time and 1,072 were part-time.