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Board of visitors to set tuition, fees May 17; range of options will result in lowest increase for resident undergraduate students in a decade


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 16, 2012 – The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will consider tuition and fees for the 2012-13 academic year on Thursday, May 17 at noon at the Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington.

The public may view the meeting in Blacksburg via video conference in 1100 Torgersen Hall on the Virginia Tech campus.

University officials will present three options for consideration – proposed tuition increases of $420, $335, or $261 per year for a resident undergraduate student. On a percentage basis, this represents possible increases of 4.7, 3.8, and 2.9 percent, respectively.

“We are sensitive to the desire of state policy leaders to hold down tuition increases. While we regret having to raise tuition and fees, we continue to monitor closely all costs throughout the enterprise,” said Chief Financial Officer Dwight Shelton. “All the options presented to the board will require some reallocation of funding in our units.”

Under the three proposed options, tuition and mandatory fees for a Virginia undergraduate student would range from $10,849 to $11,024, an increase ranging from $340 to $515. Tuition and mandatory fees for a non-Virginia undergraduate student not living on campus will range from $25,915 to $25,931, an increase ranging from $1,435 to $1,451.

The increase for room and board would range from 3.8 to 7.4 percent depending on which option and the type of residence hall and meal plan selected.

As in previous years, the historical loss of state support generally drives the need for tuition increases.

“We very much appreciate the support of the McDonnell administration in leading the efforts to make new investments in higher education for 2012-14,” added Shelton. “However, the level of General Fund support that the commonwealth is currently able to provide is not sufficient to cover our operating costs without new tuition revenue. Cost increases added to our budget by the state itself outpace the rate of growth in new state funding. Overall, the amount of new state funds available for base operating support is about one-half of one percent of our educational budget.

“Indeed, since tuition and fees fund almost 70 percent of the educational component of the university budget (the state share is less than 30 percent), increases in operating costs are increasingly felt by the students,” said Shelton. “State support for in-state Virginia Tech students has dropped more than 50 percent over the last decade, when adjusted for inflation. Thus, we must raise tuition when we incur increases in operating costs such as those recently announced for the state retirement system, health care, the operation and maintenance of new facilities coming on-line, potential energy increases, or to support the goals of the 'Top Jobs' legislation of 2011. However, any tuition increase at the levels proposed will result in various budget reductions."

To ensure access and affordability, Virginia Tech maintains a robust student financial aid program. The proposed charges represent the overall amount assessed to students and may be offset by one of the university’s financial assistance programs, including the Funds For the Future program, which buffers students from tuition increases based on a graduated scale depending on income. 

In the 2012-13 fiscal year, Virginia Tech will increase the amount of university funds designated for need-based aid to $13.8 million.

Proposals before the board call for graduate tuition and fees for Virginia residents to range from 12,413 to $12,429, and range from $23,266 to $23,282 for out-of-state students.

Proposed tuition and fees for Maryland and Virginia residents attending the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine will range from $21,434 to $21,450. Non-resident veterinary students will pay from $43,366 to $46,382 annually.

Because the Virginia General Assembly has approved an increase in the amount of debt service assigned to nonresident students next year, the state’s Commonwealth Capital and Equipment Fee will increase by $35 to $604 or $302 per semester for full-time students.

One price point is going down in the coming year – summer school tuition for on campus undergraduates. For the 2013 summer sessions, the university plans to discount summer tuition by 10 percent. Virginia students will pay from $342 to $348 per credit hour, and nonresident students will pay $884 per credit hour.

“We believe that a student can accelerate time-to-degree completion or just stay on track for graduation by expanded use of summer school,” said Shelton. “Moreover, the state has challenged Virginia institutions of higher education to optimize year-round use of facilities. We want to incentivize our students to increase summer school enrollments.”

Virginia Tech also charges supplemental program fees to cover costs that are unique to a specific discipline. To maintain the intent of the commonwealth’s funding policies regarding the collection and allocation of tuition revenues, specialized program fees are charges established for a specific program which are beyond regular tuition and fees and are equal for students, both resident and nonresident. Virginia Tech has supplemental fees for nine of its programs, and the university will not increase these fees for the 2012-13 year.

To read the 2012-13 tuition and fees resolution, visit the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors website.