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UVa considers tuition, fee increases for next year

University of Virginia officials are considering raising undergraduate tuition and fees as much as 3.1% for the next school year, but the exact amount will depend on how much money the state gives to the school and if costs increase.

The UVa Board of Visitors will hold a virtual public comment session Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. and will provide more information about the tuition request and process.

The board is proposing a $75 increase in fees to pay for expanding student health and wellness services and a new wellness facility. Other fees are proposed to increase 1.5% to meet expected program operating cost increases.

“The proposal represents a range from no change in the tuition rate to a 3.1% increase,” said Wes Hester, UVa spokesman. “The Virginia General Assembly remains in session and actions taken by the legislature may have an impact on the final proposal ahead of the March Board of Visitors meeting.”

The university’s proposal assumes that the state’s appropriation will be at essentially the same level as in the 2020-2022 budget, according the university’s legal notice advertising the meeting.

“If the unrestricted state appropriation is substantially different from the level assumed, adjustments to these tuition rates may be proposed in summer 2021,” it states.

The notice indicates any undergraduate tuition hike would likely be based on the board’s long range planning assumption of adding 1% to the percentage increase in the Higher Education Price Index.

Known as HEPI, the index is created by the Commonfund, an asset management firm for nonprofit institutions. The index is designed specifically for colleges and measures the average price of specific goods and services for schools.

Schools use the index to project future budget increases needed to preserve their purchasing power, according to Commonfund.

“[The] Higher Education Price Index data show that costs for colleges and universities rose 1.9% percent in fiscal year 2020, a decline from the 3% increase in fiscal year 2019 and the lowest reading since 1.5% in fiscal year 2016,” the organization’s 2020 update states.

Under that model, a 2.9% tuition increase is possible, depending on other factors that will be discussed by the board.

“Compared with the Consumer Price Index inflation rate of 1.6% in fiscal year 2020, HEPI’s 1.9% rate of inflation was only moderately higher, and by historical standards a very narrow spread,” the report states.

Anyone wishing to watch the Wednesday meeting may access the live video feed at https://bov.virginia.edu/live.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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