The College of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors approved an increase in tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year.
In-State students will pay 7.7% more in tuition and fees, a $944 increase. Out-of-State students will pay 6.5% more in tuition and fees, a $2,198 increase. Students at the Marshall-Wythe Law School and the Graduate School at the Mason School of Business will also pay significantly more in tuition and fees as well.
“It’s a pretty substantial increase, but when the state cuts financial support significantly there needs to be some increase in tuition, or increase the size of the population and the College is doing both,” said Andy Palomo ‘12, an out-of-state student from Florida. “The State of Virginia should prioritize higher education to ensure that the College and UVA remain premier institutions. Since they haven’t, it’s just one more step to privatization, but I can’t see that change in the very near future.”
There will also be a 6% increase in board; this reflects the cost of the Gold 19 meal plan. “These increases are used to offset the increase in the cost of food in the current year and expected increase for next year,” said Vice President of Finance, Sam Jones.
Currently, only freshmen are required to buy a meal plan, but for the class of 2015 and beyond, those living on campus will be required to have a meal plan.
“Most of our peer institutions had this requirement; we were actually an outlier by not requiring this. This will give us additional monies and allow us to invest in our facilities, we particularly need to expand the capacity of the Sadler Center and this will allow us to do this,” said Jones.
The BOV did not raise the cost of rooming, $5232, from last year. This was the third number used in the calculation of the average total cost for students, driving the percent increase down to under 6%. However, if an in-state student were living in Tribe square this coming year, their total cost would increase over 14% from this previous year.
For the current school year, the BOV raised tuition and fees almost 10%.
This tuition increase is due to the vast decrease in state support for the College. The percent of state funding for operations has dropped from nearly 30% at the beginning of the century, to just under 13% expected in 2012.
“We also needed to balance the budget, even after receiving the $900,000 dollars from the Governor’s and General Assembly Budget, the net loss in state funding from this year to 2012 is 5.4 million dollars. We’re also losing 6.9 million dollars in the one-time Federal Stimulus money,” said Jones.
Other Virginia schools are reacting similarly to the budget shortfalls: yesterday, UVA announced that they would be increasing tuition and fees by nearly 9%, a 948 dollar increase. UVA raised tuition for this current year nearly 10% as well.
With all Virginia public schools losing large amounts of state funding, it remains to be seen whether their respective Board of Visitors will follow suit. Many of these meetings will occur later this spring.
Many other states and colleges are considering and implementing similar measures. Recently, the board of Regents for Georgia and Arizona approved tuition increases for public schools.
As part of the BOV’s balanced budget, there will be programs beyond raising tuition to reconcile the decreased state funding. President Reveley said in his campus-wide email to students, “William & Mary will have to find new revenue sources, attract additional private philanthropy, and become even more innovative and efficient.”
To that effect, the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the College has implemented 55 organizational business programs for the current school year aimed at making gains in each of Reveley’s four goals.
“[These] are to show that we have been making and continue to make a very serious effort to hold down costs,” said Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, James Golden.
One of the attempts at further efficiency is upgrading current communications to Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), essentially using internet infrastructure to support communication, cutting out the need for traditional telecommunication companies. To generate more revenue the School of Education and Law School are to offer expanded educational programs to cater to more students. The School of Education will also be marketing space in their Professional Development Center.
However, the tight budget is starving funding for some of these.
“We have many projects across campus that we know would have a positive net present value; that is in economic terms, the returns would be significantly greater than the investment, but we don’t have the seed money to get them started because of all our other pressing priorities,” said Golden.