Monday, December 20, 2010

Virginia Governor Proposes a De Facto 50% Tax on Tuition Increase for a State-Funded University

Inside Higher Ed today points to a conflict in Virginia in which Virginia Commonwealth University raised tuition and the governor proposes to cut its state appropriation by half of the added tuition revenue. One can look at this take-away as a punishment for raising tuition, as the article below does. Or one can consider it to be a way in which the state effectively grabs some tuition money for its own budgetary purposes. Your choice.

Either way, this development is a cautionary note about the politics of tuition increases at public universities.

The article:

McDonnell punishes VCU for tuition increase (excerpt):

Tyler Whitley, Dec. 18, 2010, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Gov. Bob McDonnell said Friday that he has withheld state money equal to half of Virginia Commonwealth University's 24 percent tuition increase as a message to colleges and universities about rising tuition rates. Noting that tuitions for Virginia students have doubled in the past 10 years, McDonnell said, "That is unacceptable." McDonnell on Friday proposed a number of budget amendments in remarks to the General Assembly's money committees. The room was lined with lobbyists.

VCU raised tuition and fees by $1,700 for in-state undergraduates — the largest increase in the state. VCU expected the increase to generate $33.4 million. McDonnell is proposing to withhold $17 million. In a statement, VCU President Michael Rao said the proposed action "directly affects VCU's ability to continue providing a quality education and ensure that students graduate on time." He said tuition at VCU is still below the state average and said the tuition increase was approved by the board at a time when VCU was losing federal stimulus funding and state financial support. He said that VCU does not rely on out-of-state students who pay higher tuition, and that VCU has cut costs so much in recent years that the quality of instruction has been undermined…

Full article at

The short item in Inside Higher Ed is at

However, you look at it, the take-away message from this news item is that added revenue from tuition can be taken away, absent some kind of accord with the powers-that-be in the state. Anyone at UCOP talking to Jerry?

No comments: