SGA and BOV student representatives host tuition forum
On Wednesday, April 11, the Student Government Association and Board of Visitors’ student representatives hosted an open forum for students to inquire and comment about the proposed budget, which was presented to the BOV in late March. The forum was held ahead of the BOV’s May 11 meeting where the BOV decides and votes on a budget for the 2018-19 academic year.
Karol Kain Gray, vice president for finance and budget, presented the information and answered questions from the 30-plus students in attendance.
In the absence of information about state support, the budget proposal includes for consideration a range of tuition and mandatory fees increase of 6.4 percent to 8.1 percent, or $866-$1,068, for in-state undergraduate students. In order to balance the budget, VCU will need to defer over 10 percent of the identified needs and strategic priorities for FY 2019 as well as delay the proposed salary increase by five months.
Download the April 11 Student Tuition Forum presentation for detailed information.
Q & A
Below is information that provides clarification to questions raised by students during the April 11 presentation.
What does E&G mean?
E&G stands for Education and General Programs Budget. The E&G budget funds the majority of school costs including instructional and student support as well as funding much of the required central functions such as the library, student accounting, IT, safety and security, etc. Some funds within E&G are also set aside for financial aid.
How is VCU President Michael Rao advocating for students at the state level?
He is working with state officials to gain recognition for VCU educating the most Virginia students and among the neediest of Virginia students, and advocating for increased funds for student financial aid. In addition, he is advocating for support for VCU’s underfunded faculty.
Is the focus for VCU to continue to serve Virginians?
Absolutely. As outlined in the presentation, educating Virginians will continue to be a priority for VCU, and although VCU will be seeking to grow its out-of-state and international enrollment to generate more revenue, the majority of students will continue to be Virginians.
What do the university mandatory fees cover?
The primary mandatory fee at VCU is the university fee, which supports athletics, student services, university strategic initiatives, transportation and the student union.
Do VCU peer schools have similar fees?
Yes; however, each university manages the fees in their own way. Only the Capital Outlay Fee for out-of-state students is set by the state of Virginia.
Has there been a push on freezing tuition as in some other states?
Schools that have frozen tuition have tended to have a higher out-of-state enrollment, which brings in more revenue to offset costs not supported by state funds.
What are the Tier III schools and what does that mean?
Virginia has classified all of its colleges and universities into three tiers. The highest level, Tier III, was granted to only four schools: College of William and Mary, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and VCU. This select status allows these schools more flexibility in managing their operations to implement best practices and streamline processes. Examples of how VCU has exercised this status include: the new HR system that went into effect January of this year; the new budget system that will go into full effect FY 2019; and a new procurement system that is currently under development.
Why did VCU purchase 534 N. Harrison St., current location of the Mansion?
This property was a nightclub located within the VCU campus footprint and was in close proximity of VCU residence halls. In the near term it will be used by the School of Arts for much-needed classroom, critique and exhibition space. The property also is important to VCU for safety reasons. The nightclub presented ongoing safety issues for the VCU community that included repeated instances of fights that spilled onto the street and gunshots fired. In three years, there were more than 110 incidents that required VCU and Richmond Police response. The master site plan process underway will determine the best academic use of the property for the long-term.
What does administrative and academic support mean?
Almost three quarters of the funds requested for the upcoming year are to address financial aid and faculty and staff needs. Administrative and academic support constitutes 15 percent of requested funds and includes funding for new advisors and an online system designed to help students graduate on time. Also included in this category are funds needed for critical safety needs, maintenance of buildings, and increased library journal costs. The balance of requests related to administrative functions has been denied.
What is VCU doing for adjuncts?
This budget proposal includes an increase in pay to a minimum of $1,000 per credit for adjuncts.
What is the role of the SBAC?
The Student Budget Advisory Committee was established in 2016 to increase student involvement in the budget planning process. The committee meets throughout the year with the goal of both educating committee members about the VCU budget and gaining their input. This committee is in addition to the student representatives that serve as nonvoting members to the VCU Board of Visitors.