President Scott D. Miller announced in his Nota Bene on Oct. 29 that The Board of Trustees approved his recommendation of freezing the tuition for the fourth year in a row. Also, 97 percent of traditional full time students receive financial aid and full-time tuition costs for traditional students will remain $36,010. Room and board will increase slightly to cover increases in food costs.
Vice President for Finance and Administration Jim Cooper attributes this to Miller and how he has strived to create greater affordability for students since his arrival.
According to Cooper, VWU is an attractive private college because of the various funding opportunities students have and that we are able to provide a better education with similar net tuition as public institutions. “New need-based scholarships were initiated in 2016 and a privately funded student work program was added in 2017. The endowed Batten Honors College was founded in 2017 to provide 40 scholarships per year to talented students no matter their financial status,” Cooper said. “With changes in demographics and a new operational model, the University has maintained the same tuition three years in a row and will continue for a fourth year in 2021-2022.”
During this unprecedented and challenging time as a result of COVID-19, VWU has had to make difficult financial decisions. In the spring, Cooper and Miller analyzed the expenses of VWU to find ways to save money. “With students and staff interacting remotely, we were able to identify costs that were non-essential and reduce and balance the budget given the new realities of lower revenues and additional costs incurred due to COVID-19,” Cooper said.
Examples of budget reductions are the elimination of professional travel since all professional meetings and conferences have been conducted virtually. Additionally, Cooper mentioned that part-time positions have been reduced, non-essential employees were furloughed and that food service was closed when students and staff were sent home in the spring.
Freshman Nya Washington appreciates the tuition freeze because it provides substantial relief to students and low-income families but is concerned about additional fees. “Some of these little hidden fees are what gets students in a bind. If schools are actually upfront about it, it would actually prepare us more on how much money we have to save to pay for college,” Washington said. “Also, I feel like it’s unnecessary adding extra little fees when some of the things we are provided are lacking in quality, such as technology and Wi-Fi.”
By Connor Merk