The University’s Board of Visitors met in the Rotunda for its quarterly Finance Committee meeting Friday from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. During the meeting, Board members approved price increases on meal plans, housing and graduate tuition as well as funding for various University projects, including the construction of an Olympic Sports Center.
Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis discussed proposed increases to graduate tuition, student and faculty housing and dining plans, citing inflation nationally and rising custodial and operating costs. Davis said that the price increase would also accommodate rising salaries for front-line workers at the University.
“The maintenance costs also include the pay raises,” Davis said. “Some of these individuals, as you know, are on the living wage, and it is critically important that we keep pace with that.”
Graduate students will face an average tuition increase of between 3 to 5 percent for the 2023-24 academic year depending on the program.
On-Grounds student housing rates will increase an average 5.5 percent, with double-room rates increasing from $7,096 to approximately $7,486 on average per academic year before financial aid for the 2023-24 academic year. The College at Wise will not increase housing prices.
Lily Roberts, student member of the Board and fourth-year Architecture student, raised concerns about increasing prices while also mandating on-Grounds housing for second years in the future, a key tenet of University President Jim Ryan’s 2030 Plan.
Davis said that the University’s housing prices remain lower than the average rates of similarly ranked universities — approximately $9,198 — though higher than the Virginia public average of $6,867.
Student meal plan rates will increase at an average of 6.4 percent, or $235, on account of rising food and worker salary costs. Rates for the college at Wise will rise by nine percent. Davis cited “high student satisfaction” with meal plan options and the lower costs of University plans compared to peer institutions.
Currently, incoming first-year students are required to purchase a meal plan. First-year students can choose from a traditional plan costing between $2,890 and $3,130, a residential college plan costing $2,955 and $3,195 or an NCAA athlete plan costing between $2,955 and $3,195.
The Committee also approved the advancement of various capital projects, including a $75 million Olympic Sports Center and $45 million Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital.
The Olympic Sports Center will be funded by a combination of private gifts and University funds to eliminate the need for a temporary training Grounds. The McCue Center will be renovated to construct the 100,000 square foot Olympic Sports Center, which will include training and academic spaces, locker rooms for various sports, sports medicine and nutrition areas and conference, office and meeting rooms.
The Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital will be funded by the joint venture between the University and Encompass and covered by operating revenue. The Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital will be located at Fontaine Research Park, and the project will include the renovation of the 50,000 square feet of existing space as well as the construction of a 22,600 square foot addition. The project will increase capacity from 50 to 60 beds in semi-private rooms.
The Committee also signed off on a large purchase of needed blood factors — a treatment used to help patients’ blood clot properly — for the Medical Center Hemophilia Treatment Center and an agreement to bring in more international medical workers.
The Committee’s next meeting is set to occur early March.