What it covers: Where do my tuition dollars go?

The revenue from your tuition goes toward Virginia Commonwealth University’s instructional programs and related support services.


Dollar bill divided into three segments of E&G revenue: 78 percent represents instructional and student support; 13 percent represents institutional support; and 9 percent represents building/grounds maintenance 

Here are some examples of what it covers

Instructional and student supportInstitutional supportBuilding/grounds maintenance
Student support IT Lighting
Faculty support Human resources Utilities
Scholarships Safety and security Building maintenance
Instruction Fiscal support Grounds maintenance
Public service Reserves and contingencies Recycling

Specifically for 2018-19, the funds from the tuition and fee increases will support the quality of your education:

  • Strategic faculty hires, as well as critically needed salary and fuding for faculty promotions
  • Funding to ensure a minimum rate of $1,000 per credit hour for adjuncts
  • VCU Libraries annual increases for subscriptions to scholarly journals
  • Funding for the Virginia Merit Award, need-based aid and graduate student waivers
  • Operation and maintenance costs of new buildings coming online, increased maintenance and contractual increases for mobile security and software, and funding for critical building repairs
  • Funding to support REAL, the experiential learning initiative

Here’s what it doesn’t cover

  • Dining
  • Housing
  • Parking

What pays for the items not covered by tuition?

In addition to tuition, VCU charges mandatory fees to students to help supplement the costs for such things as technology support, universitywide events, recreational activities and athletics — all of which help create your full VCU experience. The description of these fees is found on the Student Accounting website.

Much of the funding for the new construction of classroom and instructional buildings comes from state funding provided specifically for each project. Virginia law does not allow shifting the funding for capital projects to other uses. In recent years, most of the capital projects funded by the state have been financed with state bonds, the proceeds of which are reserved under state and federal law for capital projects (i.e., new construction) only. Increasingly, funding for buildings is coming from private gifts dedicated for a particular project. In each case, funding for capital projects cannot be shifted to hire faculty or pay for other operating costs.

What is the university doing to save money?

VCU faculty, staff and administrators continually look for ways to increase efficiencies, enhance operations and improve business operations. A few examples of efficiencies that save money include:

  • Development of a guaranteed savings contract for repair and renovation designed to save energy and reduce ongoing maintenance needs
  • Implementation of a stategic source-to-pay tool that will maximize the university's purchasing power in addition to cooperative purchasing contracts with other universities
  • Modification of courses to offer low-cost or free text books

VCU is also focused on moving resources away from doing things that are not core to the themes of its strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, and focusing them on those things that are. For example, university department budgets have been reduced several times in recent years to reallocate those funds to support priorities such as faculty compensation and student financial aid. Last year, in FY 2018, various reductions by the state resulted in a $2.7 million budget cut that was absorbed universitywide. In order to minimize the impact on tuition and fees for FY 2019, VCU has deferred funding for select administrative needs for one year and is delaying the planned faculty and University Staff salary increase by five months. 

How do tuition and fees fit into the big picture?

Tuition and fees make up over two-thirds of the $642.7 million VCU has available in FY 2019 for the instructional budget. The formal name of this instructional budget is the Educational and General (E&G) Programs Budget. In the FY 2019 fiscal plan, the two largest revenue sources are student tuition and fees and state general fund support.

What are the FY 2019 mandatory student fees, and what do they support?

Mandatory fees are required for all full- and part-time students on both campuses. Full-time students pay a flat rate. Part-time students pay a per-credit-hour rate. The primary mandatory fee at VCU is the university fee, and it is used to support a number of activities at the university, including athletics, as more specifically set out below. There are several other fees that are charged for specific purposes. These are set out below, as well.

FY 2019 mandatory student fees2017-182018-2019$ Increase% Increase
University fee $1,845.00 $1,938.00 $93.00 5.0%
Athletics $801.00 $827.00 $26.00  
University strategic initiatives $128.00 $166.00 $38.00  
Parking and Transportation $77.00 $75.00 ($2.00)  
Student union and recreational sports $543.00 $531.00 ($12.00)  
Students services $296.00 $339.00 $43.00  
Technology fee $83.00 $83.00 $0.00 0.0%
Library fee $60.00 $70.00 $10.00 16.7%
Health service fee $206.00 $215.00 $9.00 4.4%
Student activity fee $90.00 $90.00 $0.00 0.0%
Total mandatory fees (resident) $2,284.00 $2,396.00 $112.00 4.9%
Capital outlay fee (nonresident only) $660.00 $660.00* $0.00 0.0%
Total mandatory fees (nonresident) $2,944 $3,056 $112 3.8%


* The Capital outlay fee for FY 2019 is pending finalization of the Virginia state budget.

University fee: Supports recreational sports facilities, University Student Commons, campus development, career and counseling centers, student disability and student services center, intercollegiate athletics and other programs; full-time students pay a flat rate and part-time students pay a per-credit-hour rate.

Library fee: Sustains 24-hour services in James Branch Cabell Library, expands hours at the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, strengthens digital tools and supports operating costs for VCU Libraries; full-time students pay a flat rate and part-time students pay a per-credit-hour rate.

Technology fee: Supports universitywide technological initiatives; full-time students pay a flat rate and part-time students pay a per-credit-hour rate.

Activity fee: Supports educational, social, cultural and other student activities for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. These activities include the Student Government Association, sports clubs, student organizations and publications; full-time Monroe Park Campus students pay a flat rate and part-time students pay a per-credit-hour rate, and MCV Campus students pay a flat rate based on part-time or full-time enrollment.

Health fee (optional for part-time students): Covers unlimited visits to University Student Health Services, after-hours phone advice for urgent medical problems and most laboratory tests, but does not cover accidental injury, emergency room visits or hospitalization; part-time students who opt in must pay full fee.

Capital outlay fee (nonresident, on-campus students): As required by the State Appropriation Act, revenue used to reimburse the Virginia College Building Authority and the State Treasury Board; full-time students pay a flat rate and part-time students pay a per-credit-hour rate.  This fee is pending finalization of the Virginia state budget.

Full definitions of the fees and their uses can be found in the glossary of student fees at the end of Section III of the university's budget plan. Also, refer to the Student Accounting website for more information.

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