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.



Here are some examples of what it covers

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

Specifically for 2017-18, the funds from the tuition and fee increases will support the quality of your education:

  • Twenty-six new faculty hires, as well as salary increases for faculty and staff
  • VCU Libraries annual increases for subscriptions to scholarly journals
  • 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
  • Increase in Virginia Merit Award and Quest Scholarship awards, as well as funding for need-based aid

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.

How is the university reallocating base tuition and other resources to fund priorities?

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:

  • Ongoing information technology optimization, such as web-based services (travel, online payment systems, registration), videoconferencing, and online courses and training
  • Centralizing services, such as student advising, classroom scheduling to maximize space utilization and one-stop undergraduate services (records, registration, financial aid)
  • Cooperative purchasing contracts with other universities
  • Use of photovoltaic hot water and power systems for the dining hall, and parking deck lighting
  • Textbook rentals

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, the university absorbed a $3 million reallocation to fund financial aid plus a $3.2 million budget reduction by the state. In the upcoming year, FY 2018, various reductions by the state will result in a $3.8 million budget cut to be absorbed universitywide.

How do tuition and fees fit into the big picture?

Tuition and fees make up over two-thirds of the $617.8 million VCU has available in FY 2018 for the instructional budget. The formal name of this instructional budget is the Educational and General (E&G) Programs Budget. In the current FY 2018 fiscal plan, the two largest revenue sources are student tuition and fees and state general fund support.

What are the FY 2018 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.

VCU's philosophy has been to minimize mandatory student fees to the extent reasonable while providing necessary student services. In FY 2018, in consideration of the tuition rate increase, VCU worked hard to prevent fee increases where possible. This resulted in no increase for the mandatory student fees for resident (in-state) students and a minimal $35 annual increase for nonresident students for the mandated capital outlay fee.

FY 2018 mandatory student fees2016-20172017-2018$ Increase% Increase
University fee $1,845 $1,845 $0 0.0%
Technology fee $83 $83 $0 0.0%
Library fee $60 $60 $0 0.0%
Health service fee $206 $206 $0 0.0%
Student activity fee $90 $90 $0 0.0%
Total mandatory fees (resident) $2,284 $2,284 $0 0.0%
Capital outlay fee (nonresident only) $625 $660 $35 5.6%
Total mandatory fees (nonresident) $2,909 $2,944 $35 1.2%

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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