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UVa seeks comment on tuition hike proposal

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After holding the line on tuition for the current school year, University of Virginia officials are recommending up to a 4.9% hike in tuition and fees for students in the next school year and again for the year after that.

The UVa Board of Visitors is considering raising tuition and fees somewhere between 3.5% and 4.9% for the 2022-2023 school year and another 3.5% to 4.9% for the following 2023-2024 school year.

The board is holding a workshop on the proposed undergraduate tuition and fee increases at 3 p.m. on Dec. 2 in the Ern Commons Building, 567 McCormick Road. Members of the public and students are invited to the meeting and will be allowed to comment on the proposals.

Comments may also be made by Zoom, but those who wish to participate must sign up by 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Each speaker may speak for a maximum time of three minutes and is asked to limit comments to changes in undergraduate tuition and fees or how the money is to be used. Written comments also may be sent to respond_uva_tuition@virginia.edu.

The board will not take a vote on setting the rates until its Dec. 10 meeting.

The board has frequently made changes to its proposals in the past based on comments made at the informational hearings or changes in funding availability.

In February, the board had considered a 3.1% rise in tuition and fees but agreed to freeze the rates at the 2020-21 school year level after nearly two dozen students described the pandemic-engendered hardships that made paying increased tuition in the next year difficult.

Students noted a survey that showed as many as 64% of students believed an increase would negatively impact their studies.

The freeze applied to most undergraduate students in the schools of arts and sciences, nursing, engineering, commerce and public policy but not to graduate programs.

The Board of Visitors last approved a tuition increase of 2.5 percent for in-state undergraduate students and 3.5 percent for out-of-state undergraduate in the 2018-19 school year. The board had considered a tuition increase for the 2019-20 school year, but held the line after more state funding become available.

This year the board is considering tuition rates for two consecutive years, which is a change from past policy of setting tuition every year.

The recommendation came from the board’s finance committee’s tuition subcommittee. The change is designed to give students and families a heads up for tuition rates.

“Instead of setting tuition rates for one year and doing it again the next year, this gives people more time to plan for costs and an idea of what the costs will be for half of their undergraduate education,” said Brian Coy, UVa spokesman.

The changed process also fits in with the state government’s current budgeting system.

The tuition figures are based on national cost increases in providing a college education, plus 1%. That’s the normal standard the board sets for determining tuition each school year.

The range of tuition hike is designed to give the board flexibility to offset increases in the cost of education or decreases in anticipated state revenues compared to the assumptions made at the time the tuition rates were recommended.

Officials have said the increase is needed this year to help offset price hikes in utilities, income lost during the pandemic and not made up by tuition this school year and pay increases for faculty and staff. The increase would also help cover priorities set by the state legislature but not entirely funded with state money.

Besides the tuition hike, other fees not directly related to education and general operations are proposed to increase between 2.5% and 5% for 2022-2023 and again in 2023-2024.

Tuition varies depending on what educational program and what schools a student attends. For the College of Arts and Sciences and many others, students from Virginia pay $14,188 a year, and out-of-state students pay $48,036. Including fees, in-state students pay $17,418, and others pay $51,948.

Third-year students pay more, at $20,118 for tuition and fees for Virginians and $54,648 for tuition and fees for out-of-state students.

UVa officials estimate the total cost of attending the university in 2021-22, including room and board and other expenses, to be about $34,560 for Virginia undergraduate students and around $70,000 for out-of-state students.

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