- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Amid student protests, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors has approved a series of tuition increases that raise the total cost of attending the Charlottesville school.

During meetings that ended Wednesday, the board approved hikes aimed at covering projected shortfalls from state mandates, faculty raises, additional health staff and public safety. The university said another measure aims to reduce student indebtedness for both low- and middle-income Virginians and increase grant aid.

A measure approved Wednesday will increase total costs by 3.6 percent, or about $470, to $13,468 for in-state undergraduate students and by 3.7 percent, or about $1,580, to $43,764 for out-of-state undergraduates.

Those increases are in addition to a new pricing model that will raise tuition for incoming in-state students over the next two academic years.

Under the increases, incoming first-year in-state undergraduate students will see tuition and fees rise about 11 percent, or $1,470, next year.

Colette Sheehy, the university’s vice president for management and budget called the move a “price reset” aimed at putting the school in line with peers like Georgetown University and Duke University.

Sheehy also said the school “would not disadvantage any student” currently paying a lower tuition rate and would work to find financial aid for students who can’t meet the new tuition rate.

In reference to the new “Affordable Excellence” model, board rector George Keith Martin said the university is “committed to providing an outstanding education at an affordable price, without saddling Virginians with unreasonable burdens of debt,” adding that the school “remains one of the best values in all of higher education.”

Photos posted on the Daily Progress (https://bit.ly/1NgGMvY ) website showed students with tape over their mouths reading “no voice” sitting on the steps of a campus building while the board met inside.

“There was not any student input or discussion (by both the board and the school’s office of management and budget),”said Abraham Axler, U.Va. Student Council president-elect and a second-year student from New York. “I don’t necessarily think the model is good or bad, but I don’t have a fully formed opinion because I wasn’t told about it.”

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