Board of Visitors meeting to cover tuition increases, developing research opportunities

During three day meeting, the Board will listen to student panels on Greek system, undergraduate research

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The Board of Visitors will convene on Dec. 5. Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

The Board of Visitors will convene Wednesday for its December meeting, which is scheduled to run through Friday. The Board will discuss approving increases in tuition rates and fees, establishing professorships and approving funding for new buildings and renovations for the inpatient rehabilitation hospital at the University’s Fontaine Research Park.  

On Friday morning, members of the Finance Committee will discuss tuition and fee proposals. Financial proposals include a proposal to increase undergraduate tuition by between 2 and 3.5 percent for the 2019-20 school year.

If approved, tuition bills for students in the College will increase by between $342 and $410. The Curry School of Education, School of Architecture and School of Continuing and Professional Studies will see similar increases under the proposal. For the schools of Nursing, Commerce, Batten and Engineering, the increased rates will only apply to returning students. 

The committee will also discuss increasing tuition costs for third- and fourth-year students, though the changes would only apply to the next admitted class of U.Va. students.

University President Jim Ryan told The Cavalier Daily in an interview that he supports the proposal because it funds the pricier academic exercises like small class sizes.

“I mean, no one likes to raise tuition, no one likes to have tuition raised,” Ryan said. “Educational programs involve smaller classes and more intense educational experiences ... are more expensive. And so the same rationale applies to the third- and fourth-year in Arts and Sciences, which is where you're moving from large lecture courses ideally to small and more intensive courses. And that, frankly, just costs more resources ... I also think that the College is the heart of the University, and if we don't ensure high-quality education at the College we're hurting not just the College but I think the whole University."

Under the financial proposals, University meal plan rates would see an average increase of 2.44 percent. The proposal outlines additional meal plans that will be offered to students next year, including a 120 block meal plan and the option to add “Corner Cash” — money students can use at select local restaurants — to the current All Access and Semester block meal plans. 

The Board will also vote on proposed increased housing rates for first-year, upper-class and graduate housing. The increases range between 3.41 and 3.56 percent, or between $240 and $270. 

On Thursday, the BOV will consider several research proposals, including the establishment of one research professorship in the School of Law and converting one visiting professorship to a research professorship. The day’s schedule also includes a student panel on “Opportunities for Improving the Second Year Experience,” a research project being conducted by third-year student fellows in the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership. 

“In terms of both academics and personal development, the second year presents an important time for undergraduates, bridging an introduction to college life with a deepening discovery of interests, more challenging studies, and potential exploration of career paths,” the BOV agenda summary states. 

Five student representatives from the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership will present their insights to the Board Thursday afternoon during the Academic and Student Life Committee meeting. 

During the same committee meeting, outgoing Inter-Fraternity Council president and Data Science graduate student Ashwanth Samuel will address the Board about access for low-income students to the Greek system. Samuel will discuss barriers facing low-income students and other issues in the University Greek system, including “student safety, diversity and inclusion, and philanthropic impact,” according to the agenda summary.

At the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting Thursday, the Board will discuss updates concerning the Sustainability Plan the University launched in 2016. Adapted from an article written by University Communications and the University Office for Sustainability in October, the update outlines 10 steps the University has taken to promote sustainability, including the reduction of nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions. 

On Friday, University President James Ryan will lead a discussion with all Board members on developing a strategic plan and on the Strategic Investment Fund. 

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