- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 21, 2009

RICHMOND | The University of Mary Washington on Friday approved a rare midyear tuition increase to help offset drastic state funding cuts.

The Board of Visitors at the public university in Fredericksburg increased tuition by $100 per full-time student to raise an estimated $435,000. The increase would take effect in the spring semester and would be prorated for part-time students.

University officials say the revenue primarily would go toward maintaining academic programs and for need-based financial aid. Full-time, in-state undergraduates currently are charged $7,112 annually in tuition and mandatory fees.

The school also is trimming spending for 2009-10 by more than $2 million in response to state higher-education budget reductions announced in September. More than $1 million of the Mary Washington’s cuts have been achieved by keeping vacant positions open, including teaching jobs. Other areas affected include funding for student programs and clubs.

“All areas of the university budget have been impacted, including, for the first time, teaching positions,” said Richard V. Hurley, executive vice president.

Gov. Tim Kaine is proposing cutting $196.8 million from general fund appropriations for Virginia’s public colleges and universities in the upcoming two-year budget. An infusion of $91.5 million in federal stimulus money for fiscal 2010 reduces the net cuts to about $105 million.

Mary Washington officials say the university has seen a 32 percent, or $6.6 million, reduction in state funding since 2007. Other colleges and universities also face drops in state funding, and are cutting spending accordingly.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia says Mary Washington is thought to be the only public four-year school in Virginia that has formally proposed a midyear tuition increase. Colleges typically set tuition for the upcoming school year in the spring.

Virginia Commonwealth University officials discussed a similar possibility but took no action, VCU spokeswoman Pam Lepley said Friday. The university expects to lose more than $15 million in state funding in the upcoming budget, and last week said it would eliminate 91 jobs through layoffs and attrition.

The Virginia Community College System recently approved a spring tuition increase of $7.30 per credit hour, which would add about $22 to the cost of a typical community college class.

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