Nov 21, 2009

The University of Mary Washington Announces a Mid-year Tuition Increase

FREDERICKSBURG, VA—Responding to tight economic times, the University of Mary Washington (UMW) is announcing a mid-year tuition increase of $100 to help offset the school’s loss of nearly a third of its state support over the last three years. More than $6.6 million or 32 percent in state funds has been cut from the UMW budget since 2007.

The increase, which takes effect for the spring 2010 semester, is projected to generate about $435,000, and will be used to maintain the university’s academic program as well as provide for some additional need-based financial aid. UMW has already identified more than $2 million in reductions to its 2009-2010 spending plan, with over $1 million in savings realized by not filling vacant positions within the University. Other cuts affected departmental operating budgets and equipment purchases. “All areas of the university budget have been impacted, including, for the first time, teaching positions,” explained Richard V. Hurley, executive vice president.

In addition to the $100 increase for full-time students, part-time undergraduate students will pay an extra $8 per credit hour, and graduate students will pay an additional $12 per credit hour. This is the first time in seven years the university has had to raise tuition during an academic year to offset budget cuts.

Recent fee increases levied on students at the University of California Berkeley sparked a backlash of student protests. In Michigan, nearly 96,000 students are losing individual Promise grants totaling up to $4000 each, due to budget cuts enacted by the state legislature. While on a much smaller scale, the UMW move to increase tuition mid-year is troublesome and could be a harbinger of things to come at other Virginia public institutions.

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