May 8, 2010

Tuition Increases at GMU, Mary Washington, and Radford

One week after Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) announced a stunning 24 percent tuition increase, three more of Virginia’s public universities approved significant rate hikes for the coming year.

On Thursday, George Mason University (GMU) increased in-state tuition and fees 8.2 percent to $8,686 for Virginia students. Nonresidents will pay an additional 6 percent or $24,500. With room and board, in-state students can expect to pay about $16,624, and out-of-state undergrads will pay a total of $33,388 for the coming year.

In a release announcing 2010-11 tuition rates, it was noted that GMU faculty and staff have not received salary increases in three years, as Mason’s state general fund appropriation has been cut by more than $45 million since the 2007-08 academic year.

In Fredericksburg, the University of Mary Washington raised in-state tuition and fees by nearly 9 percent to $7,862. Out-of-state students were hit with a 3.4 percent increase, keeping total tuition and fees just under $20,000. UMW students also saw an unusual midyear tuition increase that added $100 to the cost of the spring semester.

Acknowledging the role federal support played in setting tuition, UMW officials expressed concern about the future. “Although a portion of the state funding cut for this year will be offset by federal stimulus funding, that support ends next year,” said acting president Rick Hurley. “A key consideration in setting this year’s tuition rates has been our longer term financial outlook and an effort to avoid double-digit increases in any given year.”

And finally, Radford’s Board of Visitors voted Friday to hike in-state tuition and fees by 11.4 percent, from $6,904 to $7,694. Total costs, with room and board will be $14,892, for Virginia students and $25,626, for students coming from out-of-state.

“We are all very concerned about cost increases in higher education and have worked diligently to manage the impact on students and parents,” said Radford president Penelope W. Kyle. “However, the university is at a point where it cannot continue to reduce academic program resources without impacting the core mission of our institution, which is educating our students.”

Ten percent of Radford’s increased tuition revenues will be earmarked to support student financial aid. The increases will also be used to hire up to 18 additional new faculty members to fill those positions lost due to budget cuts over the past two years.

Even with the rate increases, Virginia's public institutions still represent a great value. Check it out:

• Christopher Newport University: $9,395 Virginia resident/$13,766 nonresident
• George Mason University: $8,686/$24,500
• James Madison University: $7,860/$20,624
• Longwood University: $9,855/20,655
• Norfolk State University: $6,226
• Old Dominion University: $7,708/$21,148
• Radford University: $7,694
• University of Mary Washington: $7,862/$19,590
• University of Virginia: $10,628/$33,574
• Virginia Commonwealth University: $8,817/$21,949
• Virginia State University: $6,570/$15,136
• Virginia Tech: $9,459/$23,217

William and Mary’s Board of Visitors is scheduled to vote on tuition for the 2010-11 academic year some time in the coming week.

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