University of Virginia undergraduates will see tuition, room and board and other fees rise over the next two years after the school’s Board of Visitors approved proposed tuition and cost hikes on Friday.
The board unanimously agreed to increase tuition by 4.7% for the upcoming 2022-23 school year and by 3.7% for the 2023-24 school year.
The figures are based on the expected increase in the cost of providing higher education as determined by the Higher Education Price Index, or HEPI, plus 1%. They’re also based on state funding for higher education, to be approved early next year by the General Assembly, remaining stable.
UVa will raise fees by $128 for next year and by $134 the next year, while room and board will rise 3.6% and 4.3%, respectively.
Earlier this year the board agreed to set tuition for two years as a way to improve planning for both the school, the state and for parents, officials said.
Officials said they believe the increases are needed.
“I don’t think anyone in this room needs to be convinced of the value proposition of an education at the University of Virginia,” said UVa Provost Liz Magill. “We attract incredibly talented students, staff and faculty and we offer a world-class education that’s recognized globally for its strength and its breadth.”
Magill said the university has several sources of funding, including a $14.5 billion endowment. It increased almost 50% from 2020’s $9.9 billion.
Although some of the endowment funds are used for providing student financial aid and other sources, much of the endowment has restrictions on use.
“Why not use the endowment, which has had wonderful growth, and why not use those returns instead of growing tuition,” UVa Rector Whittington W. Clement rhetorically asked the board. “We do use endowment to support our students because tuition combined with the state support is simply insufficient to support the education of undergraduate students. The endowment and philanthropy are major sources of funding, but there are restrictions on how we may use the money.”
“Many of our other funds and source of funding are restricted as to what we can use them for, or are for one-time use in their nature and are not a permanent source of sustainability that would allow us to not increase tuition later,” Magill said. “We always strive to minimize tuition and help families plan for the cost of attendance.”
Magill said the university has held down tuition as much as possible in the past few years, even as state support has declined. The funds have been made up through cost savings, philanthropy and the university’s endowments.
“Our use of tuition has increased, but in 2021-22 we are still providing less per student between state support and tuition dollars than we were [30 years] ago,” Magill said.
UVa raised tuition 1.48% for 2016-17; 2.18% for 2017-18; 2.4% for 2018-19, 0% for 2019-20; 3.6% in 2020-21 and 0% again for 2021-22.
For the current school year, the UVa board originally considered a 3.1% rise in tuition and fees but agreed to freeze the rates after receiving input from students at a public comment meeting.
The approved jumps in tuition, fees and housing for the next two years will also help offset price hikes in utilities, income the university lost during the pandemic, increases in faculty salaries and pay hikes for staff. The state also approved wage raises for some employees at UVa, but did not provide the funding to pay for them, leaving the school to make up those funds.
“Please note that we don’t think that this is a sustainable path, where we rely on tuition for base operating costs,” said J.J. Davis, chief operating officer for UVa. “
Although the board approved the tuition rates on Friday, it has the authority to revisit the decision and adjust tuition later in the year, should more money or less money be made approved by the state, or if economic conditions change for the worse.
How much a student pays in tuition varies depending on the student’s educational program, school and year. For first-year students in the College of Arts and Sciences and other programs, tuition will be set at $15,339 for next year, and $15,907 for 2023-2024. Out-of-state students will pay $51,491 next school year and $53,397 in 2023-2024.
The Board of Visitors also approved a $270 increase in the average cost of a double room for first-year students, charging them $7,096 for 2022-2023. Meal plans are slated to increase between 3% and 5%, depending on the plan.
No estimate of total cost to attend UVa during the next two years was available on Friday. Officials estimate the total cost of attending the university in 2021-22, including room and board and other expenses, was about $34,560 for Virginia undergraduate students and around $70,000 for out-of-state students.
Also at Friday’s meeting, UVa officials leading the school’s Honor the Future fundraising campaign told the board that the effort to raise $5 billion has made it to 75% of the goal with pledges, donations and gifts of $3.75 billion.
The public part of the campaign began in 2019 and is slated to continue into the spring of 2025. Those dates represent 200 years of the school, which was chartered 1819 and saw its first graduating class in 1825.
The money is meant to support all 11 schools at the university as well as UVa Wise and focuses on raising money to pay for faculty, fellowships, student access and affordability.
The school’s previous Knowledge is Power campaign ended in June 2013 after raising $3 billion.