BOV unveils new tuition schedule under charter bill
Among other articles of business, the Board of Visitors opened discussion yesterday on what ultimately is expected to become a six year tuition plan.
The new proposal calls for annual tuition increases of 10 percent for in-state students and six percent for out-of-state students. When the estimated full cost of education, including housing and dining, is taken into account, the plan calls for increases of eight percent for in-state students and six percent for out-of-state students.
"The five year plan represents a change in philosophy of how to approach tuition," University spokesperson Carol Wood said. "It gives both the students and the institution the ability to plan ahead."
Although the University intended to implement the program within five years, due to state budget calendar considerations, the plan is ultimately expected to take six years to realize.
In-state tuition has fluctuated unpredictably in recent years. It was frozen from 1996 to 1998, cut and frozen again until 2002, and increased sharply the past two years.
"Unlike before, under the new plan we have control over our destiny because of tuition," Board member W. Heywood Fralin said.
Under the current charter initiative proposal, the University would retain control over its own spending and tuition in exchange for an unspecified University enrollment increase, a commitment to maintaining a socially and economically diverse student body and a reduction in state appropriations.
The tuition will not be set officially until the Board meets again in March, and all projections are dependent on the nature of the University's agreement with the Commonwealth and whether the Commonwealth provides the promised funds.
Board member Thomas Saunders, III departed early in the afternoon for Richmond to discuss the situation with officials in the capital.
Other topics addressed during the Board meeting included a presentation by the University Judiciary Committee regarding the expanded UJC jurisdiction. Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Lampkin also reported on the status of the sexual assault policy as well as recent deaths in the community.
Honor Committee Chair Meghan Sullivan spoke about the status of the single sanction reform proposal, while Athletic Director Craig Littlepage addressed increased summer school enrollment for student athletes.
The Board's Special Committee on Diversity included discussion about the status of the search for a chief diversity officer. The committee also discussed attracting minority faculty.
Committee Chair Warren Thompson expressed concern about the University's procurement procedures.
"We had this discussion two and a half years ago, and the numbers look about the same if not worse than they were then," Thompson said.
The administration reported that 25 percent of University contracts went to small businesses, two percent to women and one percent to minorities.
Some Board members said they were hesitant to endorse a plan to modify the University's procurement procedures in a way that might be discriminatory and illegal.
"It's unfortunate that we used the word 'set-asides' in the slides," Board member and attorney Terence Ross said. "If a suit arose, we'd lose."
The Board agreed that there was a need for further discussion about the issue of procurement procedures.
"We're not going to break the law," Thompson said. "But we are going to do something."
The Board will meet again today to present committee summaries and hold an in-depth policy discussion on differed maintenance of University facilities as well as the selection of a new student Board member.