Video by Joel Rhodes.
VCU students will pay roughly 4 percent more for tuition next year after the Board of Visitors approved the increase yesterday.
The increase will cost current in-state students $414 more. Out-of-state students will pay around $950 more. The Board also approved a change in the tuition structure for incoming freshmen and transfer students. New students will now pay per credit for tuition instead of a flat rate cost for tuition that current full-time students pay.
With the tuition hike, the university is attempting to increase revenue while limiting expenditures as it continues to deal with budget difficulties. David Hanson, vice president of finance and administration at VCU, said the changes are difficult to make.
“We’re not just asking students to pay more,” Hanson said. “We’re saying as a university we are committed to becoming more efficient, we’re committed to cutting costs, we are absolutely going to do our part.”
Following the economic downturn in 2008, VCU has struggled to regain adequate state funding while funding planned expansion. The university remains $52 million behind the 2008 levels in state funds, according to President Michael Rao.
“This is a difficult budget under any circumstances,” Rao wrote in an email. “We will all be affected by measures to cut costs and institute operational efficiencies. Those savings will be reallocated to student financial aid and other academic support. We are also asking students and families to invest more in their education.”
Hanson said the highest priorities for VCU are faculty retention and increasing student services. Although a 4 percent increase in tuition is undesirable, he said, VCU has operated under a budget deficit for some time.
The Board approved tuition changes and others yesterday, including a move to outsource housekeeping and maintenance operations to help close an estimated $13.3 million shortfall in state funding.